Drivers of migration tendency in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts



Migration is a fundamental freedom and driver of development but also a symptom of sociopolitical and economic problems and changes occurring in society.

Migration is a generic term that refers to the movement of people from one locality to an- other. It can be driven by a multitude of reasons from economic to education, environmental to socio-political. It can be internal within a country or region or external across international borders. It can be a positive and empowering experience or could lead to greater vulnerability and marginalization. On the other hand, migration tendency, as measured by SCORE1, refers to the extent to which one is inclined to leave one’s region in search for more or better opportunities irrespective of their destination (internal or external). Migration tendency reflects inclination (one’s willingness to leave), motivations (when benefits of going prevail the associated fears or other reasons to stay), and environment (consideration of people around about making a better life somewhere else) that might affect migration behaviour of the sampled population and migration dynamics in a locality.

Migration plays an essential role in human development. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the positive potential of migration, which can spark social and economic mobility, innovation and multi-cultural exchange2. Although migration is linked to our freedom of movement, continuous waves of brain-drain (i.e. substantial loss off human capital through emigration of individuals who are at the peak of their productivity economically and professionally for better living conditions) can lead to community depopulation, economic downturn and hence weaken social cohesion. It is crucial to measure migration tendencies to unveil important trends and focus the attention of deci- sion-makers on addressing potential problems that might affect local development.

This brief is based on the SCORE 2019 survey, which targeted 8,000+ respondents living in the government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. It unpacks migration tendencies and its drivers to understand what motivates people to stay and invest in their place of residence as constructive and productive citizens. The paper also proposes evidence-based recommendations to help develop effective policies and programs that can foster life satisfaction, sustainable development and social cohesion in the region.