Socialization and residence: ethnic return migrants in Estonia
Environment and Planning A, 34:2, 289–316 (2002)
In this paper I study the choice of residence of ethnic Estonians from the Soviet Union in Estonia. The aim is to clarify the extent to which the differences in the current residence of ethnic return migrants stem from their childhood growth environment. First, the groups of foreign-born Estonians are compared based on 1989 Soviet census data. The ethnic return migrants´ place of residence is significantly related to their level of education, language skills, previous residence, migration experience, and generational belonging. Second, the survey data are used to measure how closely the return migrants´ current level of education and language skills correspond to their early socialization environment. The parents´ level of education and the language of childhood significantly impact upon the level of education and language skills that return migrants have today. However, the current differences in the level of education and language skills have also been influenced by their life environment in Estonia. Yet, even when the influence of the current life environment on these variables has been eliminated, the levels of education and language skills appear to be an important source of the differences in residence. Thus, the research supports the idea that an individual´s earlier socialization environment has a critical impact on their choice of residence.
Keywords: Estonia, migration determinants