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Returning home? Migration to birthplace among migrants after age 55



As the large post-war cohorts reach retirement age, there is a growing potential for later-life migrants. Not only are these cohorts large in number; they are also healthier and can make plans for a substantially long period to enjoy retirement. Additionally, in Sweden this generation is largely one of urbanization, which means that many have a linkage to the rural areas where they grew up. Attracting this potential of returning retirees is one strategy to counteract population decline: in some rural areas, politicians target returning retirees as potential in-migrants. Returning to one's origin is one potential motivation for migration later in life, once employment is no longer a restraining factor to a particular place, and it becomes possible to choose a place of residence more freely. The aim of this study is to examine the extent to which returning to one's roots is a factor in interregional migration in Sweden in the age group of 55–70 years. Data consist of all persons in Sweden aged 55–70 during the period 2003–2005, including their permanent residence and parish of birth. The results indicate that approximately one out of five migrants in this group who move further than 30 km are return migrants while about ten per cent return to parish. The results further confirm that migration in this age group, particularly return migration, is oriented towards rural areas. People born in the rural areas are also more prone to return at older age compared to those born in urban settings. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.