Migration aspirations of European youth in times of crisis

Christof Van Mol, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) and Universiteit Antwerpen

In recent years, the European Union passed through a significant economic crisis. All across Europe, European young people are among the groups which are hit hardest, with youth unemployment rates rising to over 50 per cent in member states such as Greece and Spain. In the classical migration literature, it is suggested that such unfavourable economic climate would make people more likely to move abroad. Whereas in press releases we are regularly confronted with stories about South European young adults with tertiary education working in bars in Northern European cities, limited empirical evidence exists as such on the relationship between the recent Euro-crisis and migration aspirations. This paper addresses this gap in the academic literature. Using data from Flash Eurobarometer 395, I investigate which micro- and macro-level characteristics influence migration aspirations across the member states of the European Union. The results reveal the importance of individual characteristics and feelings of discontent with the current climate in explaining migration aspirations. Furthermore, I detect a negative relationship of relative welfare levels with migration aspirations, and a positive relationship of the youth unemployment ratio. Together, the results suggest that potential young intra-EU movers are positively selected from the population.

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Presented in Poster Session 1