Generations and Motivations: Russian and Other Ex-Soviet Immigrants in Costa Rica

Leila Rodriguez, Pennsylvania State University
Jeffrey H. Cohen, Pennsylvania State University

This paper investigates the social networks of immigrants from former Soviet Republics to Costa Rica. The data come from fieldwork conducted during the summer of 2003 under a supplemental grant from the National Science Foundation (BCS#9875539). The research objective was to test the importance of social networks in migration decision-making, as well as in the settlement process. A survey was conducted and additional data was obtained from the 2000 Costa Rica Census, and from records of the Costa Rican Migration Office. Findings suggest that social networks of ex-Soviets now living in Costa Rica are influenced by the time of arrival (pre or post 1991) and motivations for migration. Those migrants who arrived before 1991 were motivated by their marriage to (mainly) Costa Rican men. Recent migrants leave their countries of origin mainly for economic reasons. Thus, a shared national background is less important than the motivations for migrating and time of arrival.

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Presented in Session 60: Comparative Analyses of International Migration