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A Life Course Approach to Immigrants’ Relocation: Linking Long- and Short-distance Mobility Sequences

Julie Lacroix, Jonathan Zufferey


This paper integrates life course principles to investigate interdependencies between residential, family and professional trajectories following an international migration, and enhance the more classic micro-economic explanations of foreign-born internal migration. Using retrospective data from the Swiss Household Panel survey, we follow foreign-born residents for a six-year period and analyse long- and short-distance mobility outcomes. By considering repeated migration in a multilevel framework, we tackle the question of whether successive migration is due to a short-term adjustment process or rather to a long-term phenomenon for a hypermobile segment of the population. The results corroborate important synchronicities between marriage, employment transitions and spatial outcomes, but fail to confirm the simultaneous process of childbirth and residential relocation. We conclude that successive long-distance and successive short-distance migration are confined to a selected segment of the population with high latent mobility propensity, while a long-short migration sequence rather results from a process of housing adjustment.


residential mobility; internal migration; repeated migration; unobserved heterogeneity; life course; Switzerland

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