Changes and recent patterns in internal residential migration in the Czech Republic, 1989-2007
Jana Vobecka, Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
This paper studies internal residential migration in the Czech Republic in terms of its volume, direction and structure, as well as changes in the last twenty years and their repercussions on the demographic and social structures of the population. I provide a description of internal migration patterns in the last three decades, demonstrating a reversal of trends after 1989. I analyse migration trajectories based on unique data regarding individuals´ residential migration for the year 2004. Then I discuss potential and already observed repercussions of the new migration patterns on the population structure. Finally, I discuss how the patterns observed in the Czech Republic resemble those in other post-communist countries and in Western Europe, and to what extent path dependent effects are still shaping internal migration in the Czech Republic. The analysis is done at the municipal level (6 258 units), distinguishing urban, suburban and rural municipalities situated in core or peripheral region. The core of the research lies in the analysis of social and demographic structures of the totality of individual migrants in 2004 (179 746 cases), using correspondence analysis and gravity regression models. I conclude that population concentration under socialism changed to population dispersal (mainly suburbanisation) after 1995. Moreover, internal migration is the main vehicle of population differentiation in the Czech Republic. The main driver of the residential migration is social position of migrants; life cycle stage is only of secondary importance. Since these patterns are new and still relatively small, they have not yet affected much the demographic and social structures of the population, but they can be expected to do so in the future.