Academic journal article Population

Out-Migration of Immigrants in Spain

Academic journal article Population

Out-Migration of Immigrants in Spain

Article excerpt

The decision to migrate to another country is not always a permanent one. As highlighted by Dumont and Spielvogel (2008), departures of immigrants from OECD countries represent between 20% and 75% of annual arrivals. However, most migration studies consider the phenomenon to be permanent, and when analysing migration from the perspective of the host country, the focus tends to be on primary migration. Departure of immigrants is not a widely-treated topic in the empirical literature for the majority of countries, primarily due to the lack of reliable data. Furthermore, the relatively few studies that have dealt with this topic focus their analysis on return migration, rather than dealing with the broader concept of out-migration of immigrants, which includes outflows from a country that are a return to the country of origin, as well as those that are not. This differentiation has been examined for internal migration (DaVanzo, 1976; Newbold, 1997; Newbold and Bell, 2001), but not for international migration.

Return migration has been extensively studied in Germany because that country has the advantage of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), an interdisciplinary and longitudinal study of private households that includes information on the countries of origin and destination. This database collects information at the micro level on individuals, households and families, during a sufficiently long period to allow for analysis of inter-generational relationships. Using this German database, Dustmann (2003, 2008) explores return migration motivated by concerns for children and for investment in their education, and concludes that these factors influence the parents' return plans. Constant and Massey (2003) conclude that fluency in German and holding a rewarding job significantly decrease the odds of returning, and Kirdar (2009) establishes that higher unemployment increases return migration for immigrants living in Germany.

The United States has also been studied, but with a less specific database. Borjas and Bratsberg (1996) and Zakharenko (2008) use the 1980 U.S. Census, or the Current Population Survey, as databases. Borjas and Bratsberg (1996) conclude that the skill composition of out-migrant flows depends on the type of selection that generated the immigrant flow in the first place, and Zakharenko (2008) studies various determinants of immigrant out-migration.

Taking a broader view, Constant and Massey (2002), using the German data, test the hypothesis for return migration given by the neoclassical model and the new economics of labour migration, finding some support for both perspectives.

These studies all examine return migration from the perspective of the host country, although there are other countries and regions where return migration has been studied from the perspective of the country of origin, with specific databases (for the Philippines, Yang, 2006; for the Pacific, Gibbons and McKenzie, 2011; for Tunisia, Mesnard, 2004; for Hungary, Co et al., 1999).

Spain was a net emigration country from 1900 to the early 1970s. From 1900 to 1950, the principal destination was South America, while from 1950 to the 1970s, Spanish emigrants mainly went elsewhere in Europe. Return migration to Spain from the perspective of the country of origin has been considered elsewhere. Dustmann (1997) included some analysis of Spanish returned migrants whose host country was formerly Germany, and more extensive analyses were made by Castillo (1980), based on a survey of more than 1,500 returned Spanish international emigrants, examining aspects such as personal characteristics, integration, reasons for returning, the economic situation in the host country, and conditions in Spain after return.

Other studies of Spanish return migration consider only internal migration. Recaño, (2004, 2010) uses the 1991 census to analyse internal return migration from a family rather than individual perspective, analysing characteristics of the family, the migration background of family members, and gender differences. …

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