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Centre of Migration Research

Zuzanna Brunarska, Artjoms Ivlevs. 2023.

Forced displacement and subsequent generations’ migration intentions: intergenerational transmission of family migration capital.


Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies


A growing body of evidence for the ‘family migration capital’ hypothesis – whereby migration experience in a family leads to a greater propensity to move among migrants’ descendants – has so far relied on accounts of any migration experience, including voluntary moves. However, in the case of voluntary migration, a considerable part of the observable effect may be due to self-selection into migration and passing the migration-driving characteristics across generations rather than due to the transmission of ‘capital’ derived from migration. To minimise the influence of self-selection, we consider the effects of forced migration, where self-selection is less prevalent than in voluntary migration. Using data from the nationally representative Life in Transition Survey-III, collected in 32 countries in Eurasia (N = 41,977), in logistic regression, we show that descendants of people who experienced forced displacement as a result of World War II are more likely to report an intention to migrate than people in similar circumstances but without this kind of family experience. Our findings support the contention that migration experience leads to the accumulation of ‘family migration capital’ that is passed across generations and highlight the long-lasting consequences of forced displacement, happening on a large scale globally nowadays, for future voluntary migration flows.


Family migration capital, migration intention, sforced displacement, intergenerational transmission