April 21, 2016
While the rate of internal migration in Germany has been declining continuously over the last decades, commuting has been growing more and more important. Despite the high costs, employees decide more often in favor of commuting long distances and against a change of residence. This paper focuses on the determining factors favoring moving on the one hand vs. long-distance commuting on the other hand and addresses the question whether the latter is permanently replacing moving. The empirical analysis is based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) for the years 2000 to 2009 supplemented by geographical information. This allows for the direct identification of internal migrants in Germany without the use of proxy-variables. The survival analysis confirms the expected effects of individual characteristics, household context, and regional infrastructure moving vs. commuting decisions. Furthermore, the results indicate that a considerable share of the employed permanently commute long distances. Consequently, commuting is a substitute for internal migration.