Belgian graduates on the move: does the location of the educational institution matter for internal migration patterns?

Lena Imeraj, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Didier Willaert, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Nissa Finney, University of Manchester

Research has shown that highly educated people are the most mobile in the first years after graduation, reflecting the search for a job and the process of family formation. It remains unclear however to what extent settlement patterns of young graduates are related to the location of the educational institution where they previously were enrolled. This paper investigates the internal migration of higher education graduates in Belgium. In particular, it probes the propensity of graduates who move to the city of tertiary education and the degree to which these cities are able to retain their graduates within the region in the subsequent 4-8 years. The analyses are based on the 2001 Belgian census data, linked with population register data containing information on geographical mobility for the period 2001-2010. This dataset is unique since it includes characteristics of the full population (i.e. not a sample survey). Between 15 and 20% of the 19-23 year old graduates who were in higher education in the metropolitan cities of Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Li├Ęge in 2001 (but were not domiciled there during their studies), were attracted towards the city and still resided there in 2010. 80 % of these migrations concern short-distance moves (less than 30km). Students residing in student accommodation during their studies are more likely than other graduates to move to that city after leaving the parental home. Binary logistic regression indicates that the location of the educational institution does matter for the attraction towards the city, even after controlling for individual, household and regional characteristics. The effect is largest for the Brussels-Capital-Region, Ghent and Antwerp. Multinomial logistic regression confirms the attraction of the capital city. Future survival analysis will additionally account for the duration of residence and thus elucidate to what extent the cities are able to retain their graduates.

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Presented in Session 113: Housing, education and internal migration