Are you mobile, too? The role played by social networks in the intention to move abroad among youth in Europe

Andreas Herz, Laura Díaz-Chorne, Celia Díaz-Catalán, Alice Altissimo, Sahizer Samuk Carignani

Abstract

Young people are mobile across Europe and transnational mobility is seen as a differentiating factor enabling them to gain personal and professional experience. While relationships are seen as important for mobility, the relevance of personal networks to young people´s thoughts of moving abroad has not received adequate attention. Specifically, different types of relationships with (non-)mobile others to whom young people are connected have not yet been studied as one origin of their thoughts of moving abroad. Grounded in quantitative data from the European H2020 project MOVE (n=5,499) we show that in addition to different aspects of unequal mobility opportunities (young people’s and parents’ socio-demographic status, prior mobility experience, country of residence, occupation) the constitution of young people’s network has a bearing on their mobility prospects. Our results show that young people´s thoughts of moving abroad differ between European countries, decrease with age, increase among students, and increase when respondents and significant others in their networks (parents, partners, friends, other relatives) have prior experience of mobility.

Keywords

Social networks; mobility; transnationality; youth; Europe

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