Mobility, career and family lives: interrelated events in the life course. The case of new immigrants to Switzerland

Julie Lacroix, Université de Genève
Jonathan Zufferey, Université de Genève

This paper takes on the life course approach to investigate the complex relation between housing career, family dynamics and employment transitions, following an international migration. It aims at describing the diverse settlement trajectories by distinguishing immobile individual from those whose mobility is link to family life, professional events, or both. A change in country of residence can be interpreted as a critical event in the life course, disrupting the succession of events related to family and professional life and altering the continuity of such biographies. After an international movement, the foreign-born population is likely to experiment increased mobility rate. Relevant hypotheses for these behaviours are the frequent-mover hypothesis; the adjustment perspective; the joint age profile of migration and other life events; and the synchronization of events around the migration project (e.g. family migration). We explore these hypotheses using the Swiss household panel survey and apply a multilevel discrete time logistic model for the hazard of short (within cantons) and long distance (between cantons) moves. From their arrival to Switzerland, we follow individuals aged 18 to 34 years for a six year period. Family and professional events are model to distinguish between the effect of their occurrence the year before (short term effect) and the same year (synchronicity of events). We find empirical support for the frequent-mover hypothesis and important effect of life events on internal mobility.

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Presented in Session 103: Immigrants' economic and material well-being: causes and consequences