Journal Article

Multilevel analysis of internal migration in a transitional country: the case of Estonia

Kulu, H., Billari, F. C.
Regional Studies, 38:6, 679–696 (2004)


Recent geographical migration studies have aimed at clarifying the impact of both social environment and people´s desires and beliefs on migration behaviour. However, most studies have focused on migration in Western countries, using cross-sectional data and single level methods. In this paper, we study the determinants of internal migration in Estonia, a multicultural society, during the transition period (1989–1994). We use longitudinal data and apply multilevel event history methods. We show that both personal and contextual (potentially time-varying) factors are important in determining migration propensity. Moreover, several personal determinants - age, employment status, ethnic origin - interact with environmental conditions in shaping behaviour. While our results of the age differences support a traditional life-course related migration pattern, our results of the differences in migration behaviour by employment status and ethnic origin imply deepening social polarization and ethnic segregation in the post-Soviet Estonia as a result of internal migration.
Keywords: Estonia, ethnicity, event history analysis, internal migration, transitional society
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