Early-life Causes and Later-life Consequences of Migration: Evidence from Older Irish Adults

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Abstract
Between 2009 and 2011, fieldwork was undertaken for the first wave of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Extensive information was collected on about 8,500 individuals aged 50 and over and living in Ireland, covering topics such as economic circumstances and health. One of the features of Ireland’s older population is the remarkably high proportion of returned migrants, that is, former emigrants who have returned to live in Ireland. This is reflected in the TILDA sample with over 20 % being returned migrants. Given the large number of returned migrants in the TILDA sample and the fact that the respondents are older, it has been possible to use the data to provide insights into different dimensions of migration at different points in the life-cycle. This paper provides a review of this work to date. Three issues are addressed. First, what circumstances contributed to the decision to emigrate? Second, was there evidence that living away produced psychological stress? Third, do return migrants suffer from social isolation on their return? The data suggest that the return migrants were more likely to have suffered abuse as children, to have been more prone to alcohol problems and to be more socially isolated currently.Abstract

Between 2009 and 2011, fieldwork was undertaken for the first wave of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Extensive information was collected on about 8,500 individuals aged 50 and over and living in Ireland, covering topics such as economic circumstances and health. One of the features of Ireland’s older population is the remarkably high proportion of returned migrants, that is, former emigrants who have returned to live in Ireland. This is reflected in the TILDA sample with over 20 % being returned migrants. Given the large number of returned migrants in the TILDA sample and the fact that the respondents are older, it has been possible to use the data to provide insights into different dimensions of migration at different points in the life-cycle. This paper provides a review of this work to date. Three issues are addressed. First, what circumstances contributed to the decision to emigrate? Second, was there evidence that living away produced psychological stress? Third, do return migrants suffer from social isolation on their return? The data suggest that the return migrants were more likely to have suffered abuse as children, to have been more prone to alcohol problems and to be more socially isolated currently.

Source: Journal of Population Ageing, Volume 6, Issue 1-2, pp 29-45, June 2013

Author(s):Alan Barrett, Irene Mosca
Publisher:Springer
Publication Date:22 Jan 2013
Geographic Focus:Ireland
URL:http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12062-012-9078-4
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