Are Young Swedes Moving More? A Cohort Analysis of Internal Migration by Move Order

Abstract

While levels of migration within countries have been trending down in a number of advanced economies, Sweden has recorded a rise in internal migration among young adults. An increase in aggregate migration levels can be the result of a decline in immobility (i.e. the absence of migration), an increase in repeat movement or a combination of both. In this paper, we draw on retrospective survey and longitudinal register data to explore the demographic mechanisms underpinning the rise in internal migration among young Swedes born in the 30 years to 1980 and we compare the migration behaviour of the youngest cohort to that of their European counterparts. Of all 25 European countries, Sweden reports the highest level of migration among young adults, which is the result of very low immobility combined with high repeat movement. The increase in migration has been particularly pronounced for inter-county moves for the post-1970 cohorts. Analysis of order-specific components of migration shows that this is the result of a decrease in immobility combined with a modest rise in higher-order moves, whereas it is the rise in higher-order moves that underpins the increase in inter-parish migration. This upswing has been accompanied by a shift in the ages at migration, characterised by an earlier start and later finish leading to a lengthening of the number of years young adults are mobile. The results indicate that change in migration behaviour is order-specific, which underlines the need to collect and analyse migration by move order to obtain a reliable account of migration trends.

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Fig. 1

Source: 2005 Eurobarometer, cohorts born between 1971 and 1980, authors’ calculations

Fig. 2

Source: 2005 Eurobarometer, cohorts born between 1971 and 1980, authors’ calculations

Fig. 3

Source: Swedish Population Register, authors’ calculations

Fig. 4

Source: Swedish Population Register, authors’ calculations

Fig. 5

Source: Swedish Population Register, authors’ calculations

Fig. 6

Source: Swedish Population Register, authors’ calculations

Notes

  1. 1.

    The Eurobarometer did not collect the age at which moves took place, except the age at leaving the parental home. For this reason, we could not restrict the analysis to the ages of 18–30 as we did with Swedish register data and had to analyse migration behaviour over a wider age range (e.g. 15–35).

  2. 2.

    See Kolk (2019) for sex-specific overall migration patterns.

  3. 3.

    Immobility is defined as the absence of migration in given interval and thus does not refer the inability of a person to move around in daily activity without help or aids.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Australian Research Council under ARC Early Career Discovery Project (DE160101574) and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (P17-0330:1).

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Bernard, A., Kolk, M. Are Young Swedes Moving More? A Cohort Analysis of Internal Migration by Move Order. Eur J Population 36, 601–615 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10680-019-09542-z

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Keywords

  • Internal migration
  • Sweden
  • Cohort analysis
  • Completed migration rate
  • Completed migration distribution
  • Young adults