Immigrants' geographic mobility in France: a longitudinal approach

Matthieu Solignac, Sciences Po. and Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

This paper examines differences in the geographic mobility rates of natives and immigrants in France. I use a large longitudinal dataset over the period 1968-1999, and measure mobility from one French municipality (commune) to another while taking into account emigration from France. Whereas internal mobility rates are usually estimated on a subsample of individuals who reside in the territory the entire time (stayers), I show that exiters generate uncertainty over measures of immigrants' mobility rates. From their observed characteristics, I compute a potential internal mobility rate for exiters. Compared to the mobility rate observed for stayers, it is higher for immigrants whereas it is smaller for natives. It reflects the different type of exit between the two groups: departure from the metropolitan France of young immigrants and death of old natives. Among immigrants, although exiters tend to be more educated and live in large cities, they are more often single newcomers living in lower quality dwellings. For those who are married, their spouse is more often absent from the household. Having a negative effect on immigrants' mobility rate and a positive effect on natives mobility rate, exiters narrow the internal mobility rates of these two groups. Finally, this study concludes that on average immigrants' internal mobility rates are similar to natives. The large size of the dataset enables me to make distinctions among immigrants according to their country of origin and date of arrival. It shows a large heterogeneity among immigrants in terms of mobility rates. Based on the municipality characteristics, distinctions are also made between different types of mobility.

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Presented in Session 30: Internal migration of immigrants