Journal Article

Migration to urban and rural destinations in post-Soviet Estonia: a multilevel event-history analysis

Kulu, H., Billari, F. C.

Environment and Planning A, 38:4, 749-764 (2006)

Keywords: Estonia, event history analysis, internal migration


Researchers are divided on the trends and causes of internal migration in postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe. Theories run in opposite directions: some scholars argue that increasing similarities with Western market economies are explaining the migration processes, whereas others claim that specific developments during the postsocialist socioeconomic restructuring are playing a major role. In this paper we contribute to the existing discussion by providing an analysis of personal and contextual determinants of migration to urban and rural destinations in post-Soviet Estonia. We base our study on the data of the Estonian Labour Force Survey from 1995. Our research population consists of 8480 people aged 15 years to 68 years in early 1989. We analyze the intensity of urban-bound and rural-bound migration from January 1989 to December 1994, using the techniques of multilevel event-history analysis. We show that personal characteristics (age, marital status, employment status, education, and ethnicity) and contextual factors (unemployment level and the share of ethnic minorities) are both important in shaping the intensity of migration to urban and rural destinations in post-Soviet Estonia. Although the differences in migration behaviour by demographic characteristics in Estonia are in line with universalistic explanations, the regionally varying effect of socioeconomic status on migration is specific to developments in postsocialist countries, as a result of general economic hardship during the socioeconomic transition.