The structure of the transition to adulthood has profoundly changed in recent decades, in ways that have affected the relevance of internal migration for the individual life course.
In my new research article titled “Internal migration over young adult life courses: Continuities and changes across cohorts in West Germany” (in Advances in Life Course Research; with Katharina Lutz), I adopt a paradigm that examines the life course holistically to portray internal migration as part of unfolding individual life courses during the young adulthood, analyzing stability and change across socio-historical contexts.
We first address the question of whether the structure of family and occupational life courses intersect with internal migration processes at early adult ages for men and women born in 1939-41, 1949-51, 1964 and 1971. We then establish how socio-historical transformations are reflected in the life course pathways of internal migrants. We accomplish this by analyzing key features of sequences of monthly records of life events between the ages of 16 and 30 from the German Life History Study.
Results from our analyses reveal that the structure of individual life courses intersects with internal migration experiences in early adulthood. These differences have increased over time and are more apparent in the labour market trajectory than in the family trajectory. In particular, longer education episodes, fewer and shorter employment episodes, and fewer or later family-related episodes associate more with internal migration than lack thereof over the life course, and across recent generations.
We also find a relevant diversity in internal migrants’ trajectories, which reflects the complex ways in which young adults negotiate life courses, and it aligns with the generalized protraction of school-to-work transitions and the delay of family projects across birth cohorts.
Our research adds to recent studies that underline the value of situating migration events in the wider biographical and structural contexts. Findings contribute to map in efficient ways the full complexity of individual life courses.
Free e-offprint available here until May 25, 2018.