A country on the move: International migration in post-communist Albania

Type Journal Article - International Migration Review
Title A country on the move: International migration in post-communist Albania
Volume 40
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Page numbers 767-785
URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=MImg&_imagekey=B6VBF-4GXW959-3-1&_cdi=5925&_user=866177&_pi​i=S0277953605003679&_origin=search&_coverDate=02/28/2006&_sk=999379995&view=c&wchp=dGLbVlz-zSkzV&md5​=df5c326985b9006e442a8ea6e8cacd2e&ie;=/sdarticle.pdf
Albania is a country on the move. This mobility plays a key role in household-level strategies to cope with the economic hardship of transition. With the relaxing of controls on emigration at the beginning of the 1990s, international migration has exploded, becoming the single most important political, social, and economic phenomenon in post-communist Albania. Based on the 1989 and 2001 population censuses we estimate that over 600,000 Albanians live abroad, mostly in nearby Greece and Italy, with the vast majority coming from a limited number of districts located at the coastal and transport gateways to these destination countries, as well as Tirana. The available data also suggest that a similar number have considered migrating, and of these, half have tried and failed. Almost one-half of the children who since 1990 no longer live with their parents are now living abroad, a number of almost exodus proportions. This article also identifies clear patterns of temporary migration, with Greece being by far the most important destination and rural areas from the Center and North-East of the country being the primary origins of these flows. Although migration, with the resulting remittances, has become an indispensable part of Albanian economic development, there is increasing consensus on the necessity to devise more appropriate, sustainable strategies to lift households out of poverty and promote the country's growth.

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