Subjective Well-Being among Internally Displaced Persons in Ukraine: Family Support, Social Mobility, and Adaptation

Brienna Perelli-Harris , University of Southampton
Jane Zavisca, University of Arizona
Nataliia Levchuk, Ptoukha Institute for Demography and Social Studies
Theodore P. Gerber, University of Wisconsin–Madison

In 2014, war erupted in Eastern Ukraine, resulting in the largest internally displaced population in Europe. Over the next few years, around 1.5 million people left their homes and resettled throughout Ukraine. Despite being ethnically and culturally similar to the local population, IDPs encountered severe economic, housing, and societal challenges during resettlement, not to mention residual trauma from the violence. Given that the conflict is ongoing, many of the IDPs continue to face a situation of protracted displacement and uncertainty about whether they can return home. Using a unique survey conducted in 2018 and OLS regression methods, we investigate IDP’s subjective well-being (SWB), which provides a way of gauging resilience and adaptation to their new situation. First, we compare IDPs to the local population and focus on factors attenuating any differences: family structure and separation, local support, economic situation, and housing. Second, we conduct an analysis solely on IDPs to better understand how SWB is related to the severity of the displacement (e.g. reasons for moving, relatives left behind), declines in social mobility (the experience of unemployment, lower occupational status, lower housing status), and barriers to integration (slow adaptation, only friends who are IDPs, intentions to return). Preliminary analyses indicate IDPs still have significantly worse life satisfaction than locals after controlling for a range of variables. Next steps will investigate how covariates differ between IDPs and locals, and which factors matter most for SWB. Taken together, these analyses will provide insights into variation and adaptation among this vulnerable population.

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 Presented in Session 70. Migrant Populations