02 Jul

Migration in the Caucasus

Based on an analysis of the 2010 Caucasus Barometer, I found that there are significant differences in interest in temporary and permanent migration in the three Caucasus Republics. All three countries have a pretty strong interest in migration, especially temporarily. This question is about “interest in” — not ability to migrate, however. And as there are many barriers to migration (visas, economic ability, finding work, etc.), this should not be taken as “intention to migrate,” merely interest.

Temporary Migration
With 59 percent of Armenians interested in temporary migration, of the three republics, Armenia is leading in this category. This may be due to a number of factors: established groups of migrants in Russia and the United States (among other places), relatively high unemployment, and an established remittance system. Who wants to migrate in Armenia? Lots of people! Only those in the lower economic categories are less likely to be interested in temporary migration. Moreoever, Yerevantsis are significantly less likely to be interested in temporary migration than rural Armenians or those living in regional cities. This may be because a lot of Yerevantsis have already left Armenia or because there has been a shift in internal migration where rural people are moving to Yerevan for work and educational opportunities.

Half of Azerbaijanis are interested in temporary migration. There are no patterns or significant differences in interest based on economic wellbeing, capital/rural cities/village, or gender.

Many Georgians (40%) are interested in temporary migration as well. Like Azerbaijan, there are no economic differences in interest, but rural residents are strongly more interested in temporary migration than capital or rural city residents are. Also, unlike Armenia or Azerbaijan, women in Georgia are more interested in temporary migration than men are.

Permanent Migration
A quarter of Armenians (26%) want to permanent migrate. Again, economic conditions likely cause this interest. Only those in the absolutely highest economic category are less interested in permanent migration than the vast majority of lower upper class, middle class, and lower class Armenians (in terms of their economic wellbeing). Interestingly, women are more interested in permanently migrating than men are.

Only 17 percent of Azerbaijanis state an interest in permanent migration. Again, economic differences played no role, but rural Azerbaijanis are significantly more interested in permanent migration than capital or regional urbanites. And like Armenia, women are more interested in permanent migration than men are.

Few Georgians (8%) want to permanently migrate. There are not any economic, regional, or gender differences for permanent migration.