'Should We Leave or Stay?' Notes on Recent Hungarian Outmigration


  • Eva V. Huseby-Darvas University of Michigan-Dearborn




Hungary, outmigration, emigration, Schengen Agreement, European Union


This preliminary study is based on Hungarian electronic media sources, informal interviews and similar personal communications, as well as statistical data provided by kind and cooperative colleagues in Hungary. Addressing the recent, massive outmigration from Hungary, the article explores some of the primary push-and-pull factors, and then discusses responses to the emigration phenomenon itself and its likely long-term demographic, social and economic implications, by scholars as well as by politicians from both the governing party and the opposition. To give the emic perspective, I cited and translated from my conversations with a few young emigrants, would-be-emigrants, and mothers’ of these young people, and thus illustrate the issue from those most involved. Then, by also citing scholars, authors, columnists, and politicians my aim was to offer the etic, or outsiders’ view, but – since for various reasons – they also appear to be involved in and concerned with the problem of outmigration, theirs is still an emic perspective, though of a different order. Realizing that the present attempt is merely a quick snapshot of an ongoing, potentially volatile and dynamic process, further research and a multidisciplinary attempt to interpret and analyze the recent emigration from Hungary are needed.

Author Biography

Eva V. Huseby-Darvas, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Éva V. Huseby-Darvas received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She has taught part time at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses and at E.L.T.E. in Budapest. Her areas of scholarly interest include looking at the relationship between identity and radical social change and the ramification of migration on gender. Specifically, she has published some fifty articles on East Central European culture and society, kinship networks and gender politics, and the regional development of nationalism and ethnicity, refugees, migrants, and immigrants. She has also published Hungarians in Michigan (2003). In recognition of her research in contributing to the understanding of Hungarian historical, cultural and social development in the homeland and abroad, as well as for her continuous efforts in promoting research cooperation between the U.S. and Hungary, in 2008 Huseby-Darvas was awarded the Knight's Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.






Cluster Articles: Hungarian Borders, Immigration, Diasporas