Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
East-Central European migrants in Sweden: migration motives and migration outcome
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2011 (English)In: Social Space, ISSN 2084-1558, Vol. 2, 75-103 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the European Union enlargement in 2004 and 2007 respectively have changed the preconditions of east-west migration. However, the geopolitical changes have not resulted in the ‘mass migration’ that was initially expected from the EU15. Sweden is one of the countries to which migration from East-Central Europe has been modest, although it has increased. Reasons why this migration is still limited in Sweden are not only connected to political structures; occupation, family situation, and social networks are additional issues that matter in the migration decision-making process. This paper explores migration motives and the outcome of the migration in terms of employment, family status and satisfaction with the migration decision for people moving to Sweden from Russia and the East-Central European countries, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.The study is based on a questionnaire survey and reveals significant gender differences when it comes to migration motives, and women tend to state social reasons to a higher degree than men. Although social motives predominate among the migrants, economic reasons tend to become more important over time, particularly after the year 2000. Moreover, the majority of the respondents report that to migrate was a fairly easy decision to make. However, some differences exist depending on country and gender, whereby the decision is perceived as less easy for migrants from Russia and Poland and for women who stated social and economic motives. There is also evidence that motives are of importance for labour market success among respondents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Rzeszow University and BOSQO , 2011. Vol. 2, 75-103 p.
Keyword [en]
East-west migration, Migration motive, Outcome, Labour market success, International migration
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-53303OAI: diva2:511227
Available from: 2012-03-20 Created: 2012-03-20 Last updated: 2012-11-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Go West: East European migrants in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Go West: East European migrants in Sweden
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Från öst till väst : Östeuropeiska migranter i Sverige
Abstract [en]

Many people have migrated between East and West Europe in recent decades. The daily life of these migrants is crucial not only for the migrants themselves but also for the development of future migration. The aim of this thesis is to explore the interaction between migration motives, integration, social networks and migration, and how this affects international migration processes in general. This is done using migration between Sweden on the one hand and Russia, Poland and the Baltic States on the other as a case study.

The thesis consists of three empirical studies which derive from different sources of data: the first (Paper I) draws on individual Swedish register data while the second and third are based upon a questionnaire survey. Paper I explores aspects of transnational social spaces in the context of migration from the non-Baltic former Soviet republics to Sweden before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. The results of this paper show rather limited migration and a lack of a more developed transnational social space. This is partly due to weak integration on the labour market, a high degree of intermarriage, no existing migrant community and limited return migration. The following two papers (II, III) focus on migrants from Russia, Poland and the Baltic States to Sweden after 1990. Paper II analyses migration motives and the outcome of the migration decision, and reveals significant gender differences in the motives for migrating and in how men and women adapt in their new country of living. While men mainly came for economic reasons, the majority of women came for intermarriage in Sweden; however, the migration motives have changed over time towards more economic ones. The final paper (III) shows significant gender differences in the migrants’ perceived sense of belonging in Sweden. Women report a stronger sense of belonging than their male counterparts, and while men’s sense of belonging is mainly affected by duration of stay in Sweden, language proficiency and citizenship, women’s sense of belonging is shown to be mostly affected by local social networks. In sum, the results in this thesis show that migration systems and transnational social spaces between Sweden and the respective countries have not yet emerged. This is partly due to the specific migrant composition and integration that characterize this migration process. The immigrants mainly function as weak bridgeheads, and do not facilitate the development of any further migration. However, with a changing migration flow, including migrants with different motives and migration agendas, future migrants can be stronger bridgeheads and facilitate further development of migration systems and transnational social spaces.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2012. 63 p.
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2012:2
East-West migration, international migration, integration, migration motives, social networks, belonging, migration systems, transnational social spaces, Sweden
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61467 (URN)978-91-7459-489-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-12-07, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal S205H, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2012-11-16 Created: 2012-11-14 Last updated: 2012-11-15Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Journal web page

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Olofsson, JennyWestin, Kerstin
By organisation
Department of Geography and Economic HistoryDepartment of Social and Economic Geography
Social Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 138 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link