Leavers and stayers – Migrant and non-migrant life trajectories in Sweden and Finland


Project leader: Jani Turunen
Starting year: 2021
Project type: Project
Total funding: SEK 4,764,000

One of the main reasons for migrating is the pursuit of better opportunities for oneself and for one’s children than what are offered in the country of origin. However migration research has traditionally focused on comparing migrant outcomes to those of the natives in the host country. From a migrant’s perspective it is arguably more rational to compare migration outcomes to those that were offered to the person in the country of origin. This is however difficult to do.

By studying migrants from Finland to Sweden this project will focus on the life trajectories of emigrants and their children in comparison to those who did not migrate. We will use linked population registers from Finland and Sweden to analyze demographic, educational and labour market outcomes of Finnish immigrants to Sweden from 1970 to present in comparison to their siblings who stayed in Finland. By linking registers individuals and their family can be followed in both countries. In the next step we will compare their Swedish born children to their non- migrant cousins in Finland, showing whether the migration decision provided a better life for the next generation. The within family research design provides a novel way to address some of the issues of migrant selectivity. By comparing each migrant to his/hers sibling(s) who have shared the same parents, home environment etc., we can address issues of selectivity in a much more powerful way than what has hitherto been the case within migration research.