Individual- and contextual determinants of migration events in a massive out-migration setting: the case of Lithuania

Sebastian Kluesener, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Domantas Jasilionis, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and Lithuanian Social Research Centre
Pavel Grigoriev, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Vlada Stankuniene, Lithuanian Social Research Centre

This project aims to improve our understanding how individual-level characteristics and spatial social contexts relate to out-migration events in a massive out-migration setting. We focus on Lithuania, which offers one of the rare cases where a country with relatively high standards in population statistics is subject to massive out-migration. Between 2004 and 2012 Lithuania experienced two big out-migration waves, in which the country lost approximately 10% of its population. We apply multi-level models on census and vital registration data allowing us to control for individual and contextual-level characteristics. In this abstract we present preliminary findings for the period 2011/2012, which is part of the second out-migration wave. This out-migration wave is related to the severe economic crisis Lithuania experienced in the aftermath of the onset of the world economic crisis in 2008/2009. Our tentative findings suggest that there seem to be clear gender differences in how educational background and marital status are related to out-migration decisions. Females exhibit a positive educational gradient in the likeliness to out-migrate, while among males high educated have the lowest propensity. In addition, not being married has a much stronger effect among females compared to males. These findings suggest that the “geographies of opportunities” in Lithuania are particularly unfavorable for career-oriented females. They also contribute to our understanding why females are currently more likely to out-migrate compared to males. There also seem to be clear spatial differences as the western part of Lithuania registered much higher out-migration rates compared to the southeastern part around the capital of Vilnius. These differences prevail even after controlling for individual-level covariates.

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Presented in Session 98: Emigration and depopulation