Economic Impact Of Migration In Albania Cultural Studies Essay

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Albanian society during the years has incurred different and important social and economic transformations. Albania a small country with a surface of 28.748 km2 and with a population nearly 3.5 million people has a population quite young and it is one of the countries with the youngest population in Europe. The average age of Albanian population is 33 years old. One of the major phenomenon which have associated Albania during the years is Migration. Migration has been a very important part of transition process in Europe and in the whole world. It continues to be significant for places that are in transition. This is the reason why we chose this theme. We chose (1992-2001), because this was the period when Albanians have migrated more.

"Migration is the phenomenon that is at the heart of economic, social and cultural change in Albania over the past 15 years" [1] . It is the movement of people from one place to another for different reasons. There are two types of migration: External and Internal. External migration is the movement of people from one country to another. Until 1990 external migration wasn't allowed by the government. Internal migration is the movement of people within the same country, which was one of the most dramatic features of the Albanian transition. The purpose of this paper is to see the effects of migration on economy and how migration has influenced on Albania society. The biggest part of these migrations, both external and internal has affected the viability of many rural communities in the north and the south of the country.

In this paper we will focus on social and economic aspects of migration after 1992. We will treat migration's causes to understand the reasons why people migrate and the main movements inside the country, we will see the most important effects of migration on economy, that are remittances and the effect of the migration on the society. Main impacts of migration are: remittances, return migration and demographic effects, but we will treat only remittances which have an important role in the development of Albanian economy. We will see this effect during (1992-2001), because INSTAT makes these registrations once in 10 years.

2. Migration's causes

Nobody leaves his/her place because he/she wants. Even "volunteer" migrations where it is expected an improvement of social and economic conditions have a "prehistory", a reason that can be a migration cause.

Causes that make people migrate are economic and non-economic. We can mention as economic factors the employment opportunities and as non-economic the security and political persecution. They are also divided in push and pull factors. Push factors are negative because they make a person leave his/her region or country while pull factors are positive because they make a person move to a certain region or country. In Albania push factors are: lack of employment opportunities, poverty, natural disasters, climate conditions, political persecution and education. Pull factors are: employment opportunities, safety and security.

Dates show that 2/3 of Albanians want to migrate for economic reasons, such as: to improve the living standard (36.7%), to find a job (19.7%) and because the job they have it's not satisfactory (9.3%). These were three main reasons to migrate.

The desire for a better life makes people migrate. In the internal migration mostly, people move from village to the city, which has a better standard of living and variety on opportunities of employment. In the village the only opportunity to deal with, is agriculture. A main reason why internal migration exists is that except the job opportunities there are: climate conditions, lack of security and the big distance between villages and hospitals, universities etc. Traumatic experiences such as wars are also very important reasons that make people migrate.

Countries where Albania has more emigrants are Greece and Italy. After 1990 Albanians has emigrated more in this two countries because they are near our country and offer better conditions. The wages are higher and the living standard is better.

3. Main movements

During these years Albanians have moved inside their place and abroad for different reasons that we mentioned above. Internal migration involves these main movements:

Inter-regional: These movements include people's movement in different region inside the country. These are mostly in this direction: from the north and north-east such as Tropoje, Puke, Kukes, Diber, Mirdite etc. to the central part of Albania such as Tirana and Durres, which nowdays are overpopulated.

Intra-regional: On this kind of movement we can mention rural-urban migration. "The city of Shkoder has become a major destination for in-migration from the rural hinterland in the north of the country" [2] . "For instance more than half of in-migrants in the city of Shkoder originate from the district of Malesia e Madhe" [3] . "The same exists for Gjirokastra, where the majority of the city's population increase is due to in-migration from the district's (especially mountains) rural areas and from adjoining districts such as Tepelene and Permet" [4] .

Inter-prefecture: The prefecture of Tirana has been for a long time the destination of nearly the half of internal migrants. After Tirana there is Durres with 20% of all internal migrants. Of particular interest in this category of movements is the urban-bound share, which accounts for almost 60% of total inter-prefecture migrants [5] .

Inter-district: These are movements from one district to another. They can be inter-regional or moves in the same region. Even within districts that are considered as sources of out-migration, there are small pockets of in-migration, usually around the municipality of the district. "We can mention the case of Saranda as a major sending district, versus Saranda municipality, a clear in-migration zone within the district itself" [6] .

Rural-urban: This is the movement of the people from villages to the cities. The most serious population loss is observed in the rural North, as well as in the rural South, particularly villages

high up in the mountains. "The country's urban population increased from 35% to 42% of the total between 1989 and 2001" [7] . The biggest increase of 45 percent was recorded for the urban population of Durrës-Tirana-Elbasan.

Urban-urban: This is another movement of Albanians. "For instance in 2001, two-thirds

of in-migrants in the city of Tirana came from other urban centers" [8] . These inter-urban flows are directed particularly from the smaller urban industrial centers created during the communist era, towards the larger and more important cities along the coast.

Rural-rural: This movement wasn't so development in Albania, but we couldn't negligible. INSTAT [9] claims that 40% of internal migrants is made in this way.

4. Demographic view of Albanian migration

During these years Albanian migration has changed the demographic view. We will present the countries where Albanians have emigrated more in 1999. Also we will present the prefectures where Albanians have mostly moved.

Table 1. Estimates of Albanians living abroad in (1999)

Country/ Year



500 000


200 000


12 000


5 000


12 000


5 000


2 500


1 000


2 000


2 000


1 000




742 500

Source: Barjaba (2000)

Figure 1. The percentage of people moved from Dibra (1989-2001)

Source: INSTAT (2002)

Total of migrants moved from Dibra during the years 1989-2001 was 49084 people. Main movements were to Tirane, Durres and Lezha. The reason of these great movement was the great poverty, unemployment and the low level of the industries development.

Figure 2. The percentage of people moved from Elbasan (1989-2001)

Source: INSTAT (2002)

Total of migrants moved from Elbasan during the years 1989-2001 was 26645 people. Main movements were to Tirane, Fier,Durres and Korçe. The reason of these movement was unemlpoyment and the destroy of old industries during the period of transition.

Figure 3. The percentage of people moved from Kukes (1989- 2001)

Source: INSTAT (2002)

Total of migrants moved from Kukes during the years 1989-2001 was 43178 people. Main movements were to Tirane, Durres and Fier. The reason of these movement was poverty, 40% of the families in Kukes survive with the economic contribution. Unemployment was another factor like the other places that push them to live their place.

5. Impact's of Migration

During the years 1992-2009 migration has had very important impact on Albanian economy. Main issues where migration impacts are: remittances, return migration, demographic effects and poverty alleviation. All this factors are very important but we will focus on the main factor on economy which are remittances and effects that migration has on society.

5.1 On Economy

Remittances are one of the main factors that influence on economy. In an analysis of remittances flow, during the transition period, we see a considerable increase during the years. Estimates of the Bank of Albania [10] show that in the year 1992 immigrant remittances amounted to 150 million US dollars, whereas in year 2001 remittances reached to 620 million US dollars. Referring to the Bank of Albania Report for the year 2001, we see that remittances represent about 15.2 per cent of GDP.

Figure 4. The amount of remittances sent during (1992-2001)

Source: Bank of Albania (2002)

During the years 1992-2001 we see that the total of remittances has been growing from 1992 to 1996. In 1997 total of remittances reduced with 232.7 million dollars because of political problems in Albania. In 1998 total of remittances grows with 185.4 million dollars, but not for a long time because in 1999, time when Kosovo was in crises, the total of remittances reduces with 84.2 million dollars. In 2001 and on, we have a growing of total remittances.

Figure 5. The percent of remittances in GDP (1992 - 2001)

Source: Bank of Albania (2002)

As we can see from the graphic remittances has had a very important role in GDP of Albania. In 1993 the percent of remittances in GDP arrived maximum with 23,3%. After this year, it reduced, because there were even other things that influenced in GDP of Albania.

Remittances have been a very important issue on migration development. They are a factor of special importance for the socioeconomic development of the country and also they are one of the main sources of income for Albanian families. In these families, remittances are used to facilitate the poverty. There are also special cases where they are used as a monetary fund for the development of businesses. The remittances of Albanian immigrants continue to constitute a valuable economic aid not only for their families, but for the socio-economic stabilization of the country as a whole.

They are used in different ways to develop our economy. Firstly remittances are used for primary consumption goods, such as food and clothing. Secondly they are used for family events, such as weddings, funerals etc. [11] Thirdly, remittances are used to finance the education of young family members, to insure a better future for them. Fourth, remittances are saved, often informally, and intended for use in emergencies, often related to ill-health [12] . Some remittances have been invested in economic activities [13] . Another type of remittances are what Levitt [14] calls social remittances: 'the ideas, behaviors, identities and social capital that flow from different direction.

5.2 On Society

Migration has had a very important influence and on society. Migration, except positive sides that have on society and in individual level related with the profit of remittances and on the reduction of unemployment has and negative sides. Some of these points are:

It is companied with the absence of young males from their house. This is the reason why the most of the houses in Albania are composed of women, children and elderly people. Other social problems of migration are family separations and the abandonment of many older people. This has caused that many wives and fiancés are separated from their emigrant husbands and partners, children also suffer for the absence of their father, but people that can feel this more are older people who have lost their family and the economic support.

Although Albanian custom obliges the youngest son (and his wife!) to take care of his parents in their old age, this tradition is breaking down through emigration. Abandoned by their emigrant children and with declining social support and pensions in the new neo-liberal Albania, many older people, especially in isolated rural areas, are becoming lonely 'orphan pensioners' [15] .

6. Conclusions

Albania has had a development on internal and international migration, after 1992. The reasons of these migrations are in generally to improve their life to have better conditions. Migration's causes are divided on push and pull factors. More favorite places for Albanian emigrants during these years was Greece and Italy. People from Diber, Elbasan and Kukes have moved more to Tirana and Durres than other cities. Main movements inside the country are: inter-regional, intra-regional, inter-prefecture, inter-district, rural-urban, urban-urban and rural-rural. All these movements have changed the demographic view of Albania. Migration mostly influences on economy via remittances. Remittances has effected in a positive way in the development of Albanian economy during these years. Remittances are a factor of special importance for the socioeconomic development of the country and also they are one of the main sources of income for Albanian families. In society, except these economic profits, there were a lot of negative sides as we can mention the separation of the families and the Albanian traditions are breaking down. What makes us think is: Has migration a positive or negative effect in Albania and other places including all the aspects where it influences? Is this economic development as worthily as to cover the negative social consequences?