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[en] Friendships can be interpreted as voluntary relationships between individuals and characterised as relatively amorphous bond. Since migration usually diversifies people’s social bonds, it can be suggested that in this context friendships have to be reconfigured. Even though friendships are important for societal integration and related to individual well-being, migration research has treated friendships as a side issue. This chapter aims to narrow this gap by answering three questions: Are there significant differences between emigrants and non-mobiles in their number of close friends? What are important factors influencing emigrants’ number of close friends abroad? How does this number develop during the first years after emigration? Based on data from the German Emigration and Remigration Panel Study and the German Socio-Economic Panel, the results show that emigrants have more friends than non-mobiles. Additionally, we find that individual characteristics and cultural distance between emigrant and host society or the intension to stay in the emigration country are significantly related to emigrants’ friendship network size. Furthermore, we find that identification with the emigration country is the most influential factor on the size of the friendship networks during the first 2 years after arrival. Our results also provide some evidence that there is an optimal size of the close-friendship-network.
Emigration, Friends, and Social Integration: The Determinants and Development of Friendship Network Size After Arrival