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Migration and development in Albania

posted on 2023-06-07, 16:45 authored by Russell King, Julie Vullnetari
Starting in 1990, Albania has witnessed one of the great emigrations of recent times; ten years later at least 600,000 Albanians, one in five of the population, were living abroad, mainly in Greece and Italy. An equally significant, but less well-documented internal redistribution of the population has taken place over the same time frame. This paper chronicles and interprets this multiple mass migration; it concludes by identifying important gaps in the research literature and some hypotheses and questions for future work. The paper is in several parts. After the introduction, the second part describes the political, demographic, economic and cultural background of Albania's post-communist transition, highlighting the key determinants of migration. The third and fourth parts look at Albanian international and internal migration respectively: topics covered include the chronology of movement, a review of the available statistics, and the geographical distribution of the migrants. In the fifth part of the paper we examine, within the constraints of the evidence available, the socio -economic impacts of migration. For internal migration this includes the hyper-rapid growth of the main Tirana-Durrs urban axis, coupled with rural depopulation, especially in the mountainous regions of the north and south of the country. For external migration, depopulation is again an important issue; but equally vital are the effects of remittances on the home country, at a variety of levels, together with the prospects for return migration and the developmental impulse that this might bring. Finally, we point to key gaps in the literature on Albanian migration and development, and from this identify some future research agendas.


Publication status

  • Published


University of Sussex, Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, Working Paper C5.

Department affiliated with

  • Geography Publications

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