Academic journal article Demographic Research

The Determinants of Internal Mobility in Italy, 1995-2006: A Comparison of Italians and Resident Foreigners

Academic journal article Demographic Research

The Determinants of Internal Mobility in Italy, 1995-2006: A Comparison of Italians and Resident Foreigners

Article excerpt

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

In this paper, we study the determinants of internal migration in Italy from 1995 to 2006.

METHODS

To conduct this investigation, we applied an augmented version of the gravity model to the migratory flows of Italians and resident foreigners. In addition to the classic determinants of migration-i.e., the sizes of populations and the distance between places-the model considered a possible autocorrelation of flows and a set of socio-economic and demographic explanatory variables that may influence migratory flows.

RESULTS

Different results were obtained for the two subpopulations. Among the Italians studied, both the economic conditions and the demographic features of regions were found to have operated as both push and pull determinants of migratory flows, although the demographic characteristics were shown to have affected migratory flows to a lesser extent. Among the resident foreigners studied, the demographic characteristics of the regions did not appear to have acted as push factors, but they were found to have had an effect as a pull determinant. While the economic conditions of the destination regions were shown to have been particularly important in attracting the resident foreigners, the economic conditions of the sending regions were not found to have had a clear-cut effect on the decision to leave.

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Of the different types of mobility, international migration has most frequently been the focus of studies, mainly because of its high visibility (Bonifazi and Heins 2000). Recently, policy makers in European countries that have experienced massive migration flows, and who are worried about the risk of social destabilisation caused by the presence of an unexpectedly large number of immigrants, have given special attention to the issue.

By contrast, scholars and policy makers have focused less consistently on internal mobility, looking at the issue only during periods when it became acute. In Italy, for example, the huge migration flows from the southern to the northern parts of the country following the Second World War were studied intensively while they were occurring. But after the flows started to decrease in the second half of the 1970s, internal mobility became a secondary social, political, and scientific issue.

In recent years, however, scholars have again become interested in the internal movements of population, which are being recognised as "una delle dimensioni costitutive della società e del suo funzionamento (one of the basic dimensions of society and its functioning)" (Arru and Ramella 2003: p. X). Moreover, they are being considered in conjunction with, rather than as separate from, international movements, as both kinds of migration flows are influenced by globalisation, which modifies socio- economic contexts and relations between different geographical areas at every territorial level (Bonifazi 1999). Thus, it is hardly surprising that internal migration is growing across the globe, including in some important emigration countries (e.g., China, India, and Pakistan), and that internal flows are higher than outflows (Deshingkar and Grimm 2005).

A marked resumption of internal migration flows began in Italy in the mid-1990s (Livi Bacci 2010; Piras and Melis 2007). The number of changes of residence within Italy rose from around 1.1 million in 1995 to around 1.4 million in 2006, a level similar to that of more than 30 years previously.

As internal migration flows have been recovering, Italy has been turning into a major destination country for international migration flows, first from the African continent, and more recently from Eastern Europe. By the start of 2010, the number of resident foreigners in Italy had reached 4.2 million, or 7% of the total population (ISTAT 2010). Mobility among these resident foreigners has contributed substantially to the internal mobility trend. …

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