You are thinking of moving to another country or city. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Institute, based in New Zealand, has released two new reports that show you might be financially and emotionally more successful if you decide to move.   

The study focused on internal migration within Australia. This was defined as a residential relocation of greater than 25km. 

How you feel about your move may depend on what motivates you.

The first report Wages, Wellbeing and Location: Slaving Away in Sydney or Cruising on the Gold CoastThe sample comprised 2,474 individuals aged 25-60 years. They were followed up to four years after their move. 

Researchers discovered fascinating connections between wages and subjective well-being as well as internal migration. Researchers measured weekly wages. Participants were also asked to rate their satisfaction with life from 0-10. 

“We looked at the reasons why people leave and relocate,” said senior Motu fellow Arthur Grimes. “Market factors, such as low wages and unemployment, may motivate people to leave, but we found they were choosing places based on subjective wellbeing.”

Grimes claims that people who move to their destination experience an increase in life satisfaction. The reason for the move will determine how much. “We found quite a lot of difference in terms of motivation.”  

There appeared to be a trade-off: People who moved for work-related reasons received increased wages, but didn’t experience as big of an increase in subjective well-being compared to people who moved for other reasons, including being closer to family and friends. “However, those who moved for non-work-related reasons tended to have more of a wage cut,” said Grimes.     

According to the report, well-being also declined in the years preceding migration. There was however an apparent increase in moving years that has been maintained. 

“There are several potential explanations for such a finding: migration could be triggered by a fall in wellbeing associated with some unobserved events; the anticipation of an improved situation could alter one’s satisfaction with what the individual has now; or the lead-up to migration may be stressful, resulting in a decrease in wellbeing.” 

Men and women have different experiences with relocation. 

The second report is called Migration and Gender: Who Gains and in Which Ways?We analyzed the same samples and compared the experiences of men and women in different relationships. 

According to the report, only 30% of participants moved to work for work-related reasons. According to the report, single men were 40% more likely than single women to move to work (40%). 

“[Data shows]It is more common for a male partner to move within a couple because of work reasons than for a female partner. However, among couples overall, it is more common for both partners to report that they moved for a work-related reason, and even more common for neither partner to report moving for a work-related reason,” said Grimes.

Research also found that singles’ earnings do not rise as much when they move. Their wellbeing, however, does increase. These gains can last for many years after a move.