Older Migrants in Europe: A New Focus for Migration Studies
Abstract:This article introduces the eight papers in this collection, all of which arose from the deliberations and research projects of the members of a European Science Foundation Scientific Network. The thematic focus is the intersection of migration and personal ageing. The article has three aims and themes, the first being to provide a summary account of the diversity of older migrants in contemporary Europe. A key distinction is between older people who migrate, and former labour migrants and those who accompanied them who have ‘aged in place'. Both groups have attracted innovative research since the early 1990s. Other ‘aged migrant trajectories', such as those of return labour migrants and those who move internationally in late-life to live near or with close relatives for support and care, have received much less attention, a lacuna that some of the papers in this issue begin to correct. The second aim is to synthesise the principal personal, societal and welfare implications of the growing number of ‘older migrants' across Europe, emphasising that there are both similarities and surprising differences amongst diverse groups of migrants. Finally, the individual papers will be introduced; in so doing, the design and methodological challenges of research on the variant groups will be drawn out. Raising understanding of the motivations of migration in old age, and even more of the inter-related consequences of migration and ageing, requires longitudinal, biographical or lifecourse perspectives. While such a research agenda is both stimulating and theoretically and empirically fruitful, it also implies profound practical research challenges.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: November 1, 2006