Understanding the motivations for return migration in Australia
Background Return migration is often overlooked by traditional analyses of internal migration. Why people return has received even less scrutiny. Relatively few migrants make a return move, so there is clearly something noteworthy about these people and their circumstances that trigger such a move.
Aims This paper explores why people make return moves in Australia.
Data and methods Migration histories were collected using semi-structured in-depth interviews; content analysis of interview transcripts was undertaken.
Results People return for a wider range of reasons than is indicated by neoclassical economic theory. Some of the moves are linked to significant life events such as post-school education and employment. Returns also occur for less tangible factors such as amenity and climate, connections to family, friends and the extent to which a place “feels like home” are equally important.
Conclusions A broader explanatory framework is required to explain why people return. The integration of migrant stories into more traditional migration analyses enriches the story of internal migration.