The internal migration of foreigners in Southern Europe: A comparative study of Italy and Spain

Joaquin Recano-Valverde, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Roberta Pace, Università di Bari

Spain and Italy, two former countries of emigration have become receiving countries during the past decade. The number of foreigners increased in Spain from 500,000 in 1996 to over 4.5 million in January 2007, in Italy, from 730.000 up to 2.9 million. At this stage, the internal migration of foreigner is beginning to be known. The purpose of this paper is to describe the internal migration of the foreign population in Spain and Italy since the mid-1990s. We intend to answer four questions: Are the internal migration patters of foreigners similar to those of natives in Italy and Spain? Do these migration patterns differ by origin/nationality? Is internal migration contributing to a higher concentration or dispersion of population, and, in particular of the foreign population? And lastly, How do internal migration of foreigners in Italy and Spain differs? The analysis is based on data from the Spanish and Italian Population Registers, which provides information on individuals changing place of residence by basic demographic characteristics (citizenship, age, sex and region of origin and destination of internal migration). Following a descriptive analysis of migration patterns of foreigners and non-foreigners we will perform multivariate regression analysis to explore some of the aggregate characteristics of provinces that may influence in explaining differences in mobility among groups. Our preliminary findings for Spain an Italy suggest that the internal migration propensities and patterns of immigrants and natives differ significantly. Due to their demographic and social characteristics, immigrants tend to be more mobile than natives. Natives and immigrants of different origins also differ in their choice of destinations; these differences persist even after demographic characteristics are accounted for. Immigrants appear to be more influenced by social networks and seem thus less responsive than natives to regional economic factors and to the location of other amenities.

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Presented in Session 27: Internal Migration of Foreign Populations and Minority Groups