Aspect of Ethnicity in the Long-Term International Migration of Latvia

Kristine Lece, University of Latvia
Denize Ponomarjova, University of Latvia

The process of migration is largely affected by spatial differences in economic opportunities, where the typical variables to describe movement of migrants are used – quality of life, income levels, costs of living, unemployment rates, origin, destination, as well as personal characteristics such as age and education (Taylor, 2013). It is also important to examine the role of ethnicity in migration in Latvia today. Until now only a few studies focused on the migration analysis from perspective of ethnicity here (e.g. M. Hazans, I. Mežs, U.Ušackis, etc.).

Information on the ethnic background of the population is collected at the official level – it is recorded in Population Register (according to the information in birth certificate) as well as collected during the Population Census.

Aim of the study is to analyse the role of ethnicity in migration. Within the study the question - whether the ethnic background impacts long-term international migration - is raised.

Data and methodology: based on the data obtained from Population Register and Population Census 2011 (used to identify those persons who were really living on 01/03/2011 and who were not), the migration structure by ethnicity, country of birth, gender, age and place of residence is examined. An analysis of an international long-term migration over a six-year period has been performed.

Considering the small number of population with particular ethnic background, the study focuses on the two largest ethnic groups - Latvians (62.1% in Census 2011) and Russians (26.9%), whereas the smaller groups are combined in “others”. The point of reference is 01/01/2017.

Census 2011 data on ethnicity were collected from respondents, where 4.4% of the respondents showed a different ethnicity than in the Population Register. To avoid problem of numerator-denominator bias, specifically for this study data on ethnicity were obtained from Register.

Keywords: ethnicity, migration, population, Latvia

Presented in Poster Session 1