Understanding the reconstruction of personal networks through residential migration trajectories

Olga Ganjour, Eric Widmer, Gil Viry, Jacques-Antoine Gauthier, Vincent Kaufmann, Guillaume Drevon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines how residential trajectories influence the spatiality and composition of personal networks. Three mechanisms are considered: the addition of spatially close network members, the selection of spatially distant network members, and the substitution of spatially distant network members by spatially close ones. An ego-centred network analysis combined with a sequence analysis of residential experiences is used to capture the personal networks and the residential trajectories of individuals from two birth cohorts in Switzerland. A series of regression models tests the association between the types of personal networks that individuals develop, in terms of both spatial dispersion and composition, and their residential trajectories. The results show that individuals who moved far away from their place of birth are embedded in large and diversified personal networks, which include spatially distant relatives, local nuclear family members, and local friends. On average, individuals who experienced residential migration have larger and more diverse personal networks than individuals who stayed close to their place of birth. The addition mechanism accounts for much of this greater diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-638
JournalMigration Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2020


  • residential migration
  • residential trajectories
  • personal networks of migrants
  • network spatiality
  • social integration
  • social relationships


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