Journal Article

Forced up or down? The Impact of Forced Migration on Social Status

Published 30 January 2015 / By Isabel Ruiz, Melissa Siegel, Carlos Vargas-Silva

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Using a dataset on Burundian refugee returnees, this article explores returnees’ perceptions of the overall impact of migration on their community and household level social status. Particular attention is placed on the roles of gender and duration of migration. After controlling for relevant factors, gender does not seem to affect the perceived impact of migration on alienation from the community or the relative position of the returnee in the household. On the other hand, women are less likely than men to perceive that migration has improved their social status, increased their ability to contribute to the community, or given them more decision making power. Results suggest that those returnees who spent longer periods of time abroad have a greater tendency to perceive migration as having a positive impact on their social status. The article discusses the policy implications of the results for return migration in a post-conflict context.


Ruiz, I., Siegel, M. and Vargas-Silva, C. (2015) ‘Forced up or down? The Impact of Forced Migration on Social Status’, Journal of Refugee Studies, 28 (2): 183-201