Typologisation of Remigrants and Analysis of Return Stories: The Case of Latvia


Considering the size of the population, which hardly reaches two million, the significant drop of population driven by the emigration during the past decade (around 10%) poses a serious challenge. To improve cooperation with Latvian emigrants, as well as to facilitate their return, more attention is being paid to remigration policy and the study of return processes. The paper analyses typical patterns of remigration to Latvia, identifying the challenges associated with return in different migrant groups (by gender, age, education, etc.). Classical migration theories (e.g., neoclassical economics, NEML) are criticised in the context of the remigration because they ignore relevant contextual factors of both the host and home country and do not address the non-economic reasons for return. Therefore, the study adopts a structuralist approach to the theoretical underpinning of remigration, where contextual factors of both host and home country play a significant role. The analysis uses data from the largest remigrant studies in Latvia, carried out in 2016 (project «Return to Latvia», the sample of remigrants n=3088) and 2019 (project «Exploring Well-Being and Social Integration in the Context of Liquid Migration: A Longitudinal Approach», the sample of remigrants n=1400). Five typological groups of return migrants, estimated by cluster analysis, are interpreted according to different theoretical models. To deepen understanding of the subjective interpretation of remigration factors, in-depth interviews from the Latvian National Oral History archive are analysed as well. The analysis reveals that although emigration is mostly based on economic reasons, the main reasons for remigration are non-economic. They are related to homesickness, the desire to spend more time with family members and to raise children as Latvians, as well as difficulties of assimilating into the host society. Significant obstacles for remigrants are difficulties in reintegrating into Latvian society.

Jun 26, 2023
Melburna (Austrālija)
Ginta Elksne

Socioloģe, LU zinātniskā asistente, strādā LU Filozofijas un socioloģijas institūtā.

Maija Krūmiņa
vadošā pētniece

Vēsturniece, Latvijas Universitātes Filozofijas un socioloģijas institūta pētniece