Mapping circular migration with register statistics

Tomas Johansson, Statistics Sweden

In July 2009 the Swedish Government decided to appoint a Parliamentary Committee to examine circular migration. The Committee was tasked with mapping out circular migration and identifying the factors that influence migrants’ opportunities to move between Sweden and their countries of origin. Statistics Sweden has contributed with migration data from the national population register. The results of the mapping was published in May 2010 and is the focus of this paper. A broad definition where a circular migrant is a person that has moved across a national border at least twice since 1969 was adopted. The statistics over migration is dependent on national registration. All persons with the intention of staying in Sweden for a year or more are obliged to register at the authorities. The statistics is therefore limited to a certain time space and people moving to Sweden for a shorter period than a year is not included in the study. Persons moving from Sweden are also obliged to deregister at the authorities when planning to be abroad for a year or more. The statistics shows that more than 2 000 000 circular moves involving Sweden was made between 1969 and 2009. Women and men have generally made equally many circular moves and the most moves were done by persons in the working ages. A large part of the circular migrants are persons born in Sweden. Among the foreign born migrants Nordic background is the most common. The geographical vicinity is clearly of great importance but globalization has also made its mark. Until the 1990:s the Nordic circular migration dominated. Now it has decreased slightly and migration from the EU and countries like India and China has increased.

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Presented in Session 111: International migration: moving on or moving back?

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