2 Int'l Migration Dig. 5 (1965)

handle is hein.journals/imgratv9998 and id is 1 raw text is: 


SPECIAL DIGEST STUDY:


    POSTWAR MIGRATION FROM ITALY TO SWITZERLAND*



                              KURT B. MAYER
                         PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY
                            BROWN UNIVERSITY
                     PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, U.S.A.



       1. Large-scale migrations of Italians to Switzerland have played an
important role in the intra-European redistribution of people from under-
developed areas to countries with superior economic opportunities. The
migratory flow from Italy to Switzerland has always been determined prima-
rily by changing conditions of the Swiss economy and has varied sharply
over time. Italy has long been a major exporter of population. Switzerland,
itself an emigration country for many centuries, became a significant outlet for
Italian migrants only in the latter part of the 19th century when rapid in-
dustrialization converted it from a sending to a receiving country.
       2. Italian migration to Switzerland began with the epoch of Swiss
railroad building in the late 1850's which created a huge demand for con-
struction labor that Switzerland itself could not supply and Swiss railroad
companies began to recruit Italian construction workers on a large scale on
a seasonal basis. The influx was greatly enhanced by the conclusion in 1868
of a treaty between Italy and Switzerland guaranteeing mutual freedom of
movement, of trade and of establishment. No statistics are available but
estimates place the number of annual seasonal migrants at 75-80,000 during
the years immediately preceding the first World War.'
       3. Not all of the migration from Italy remained seasonal. The build-
ing of the Alpine tunnels provided year-round work opportunities for num-
erous construction workers. In addition, the rapid expansion of Swiss in-
dustries offered steady employment to increasing numbers of Italian workers
at higher wages than could be obtained in Italy, especially during the quarter
century preceding the First World War. No migration statistics are available
but the Swiss decennial census, taken in December after the seasonal workers
have returned home, shows that the number of Italian nationals among the

      * This is an expanded version of a paper submitted to the 1965 World Population
Conference in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Fellowship support by the John Simon Guggenheim
Foundation and the Social Science Research Council for this research is gratefully acknowl-
edged.

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