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Social Trust and Migration Aspirations in Iran

Rasoul Sadeghi, Tehran University
Maryam Rezaei, PhD Student of Demography, University of Tehran
Gholamreza Ghaffari, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Tehran

Iran has experienced a negative net migration since the 1990s. Large-scale migration from Iran to other countries has received considerable attention from academics and policy makers. Thus, this paper aims to examine various types of social trust including; interpersonal trust (i.e., trust in people) and institutional trust (e.g., trust in formal and informal institutions) on aspirations to migrate abroad in Iran. The data is drawn from National Survey of Social Capital (NSSC), including 14,200 people aged 18 and over in all provinces of the country, both of urban and rural areas in 2015. The results showed that almost one-fourth of respondents have high aspiration to migrate abroad. High migration aspiration is correlated with lower levels of interpersonal and institutional trusts. Individuals with a low level of social trust have high aspiration to emigrate to other countries. Multivariate analysis indicated that high aspiration to migrate abroad is significantly associated with interpersonal trust, and institutional trust, even after controlling demographic factors such as; age, gender, education, marital status, employment status, religion, and rural-urban residency. In conclusion, one of the key and important factors on increasing tendency to emigration from Iran is declining of interpersonal and institutional social trusts in recent years.

Keywords: International migration, Migrant populations, Inequality, Demographic and social surveys

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 75. Social Ties, Family Reunification, and Housing Conditions among International Migrants