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Impact of Migration on Older Age Parents A Case Study of Two Communes in Battambang Province, Cambodia Paper presented at Mekong Workshop, Salt Lake City.

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Presentation on theme: "Impact of Migration on Older Age Parents A Case Study of Two Communes in Battambang Province, Cambodia Paper presented at Mekong Workshop, Salt Lake City."— Presentation transcript:

1 Impact of Migration on Older Age Parents A Case Study of Two Communes in Battambang Province, Cambodia Paper presented at Mekong Workshop, Salt Lake City April 29-30, 2011 By Hak Sochanny on behalf of Analyzing Development Issues Project and Institute of Public and International Affairs 1 CCC-ADI and the University of Utah-IPIA thank the Doha International Institute of Family and Developing Studies for their support in this collaborative research

2 Introduction Labor migration has become persistent and an accelerating reality in many developing countries. How this impacts on family members including intergenerational solidarity remains, however, a matter of considerable debate. Cambodia, the setting of the present study, provides a particularly interesting case for this purpose. 2

3 The overarching questions addressed in the study How does migration of adult children affect the well being of rural older-age parents who remain behind? How does this migration impact intergenerational solidarity? 3

4 Research methods Survey questionnaires with 265 people aged 60 to 70 who have at least one living child. Two communes (Treng and Talos) in two districts (Ratanak Mondul and Mong Reussey) of Battambang province. 4

5 The percent of elderly households having a migrant child is high. But the percent having a child at home or in the village is even higher. Average number of living children 4.8 Migration but not desertion characterizes the older-age households 5

6 Only a minority of adult children ever migrated 6 SexAge Current marital status Any children

7 Having migrant children does not leave the old and the young alone at home 7

8 Except for having land, the situation of elderly people with or without migrant children is comparable 8 Migration Status Has current migrant child (n=170) Has no current migrant child (n=95) Total (n=265) Wealth score 1 (mean) Percentage of those who do not have land 36%22%31% Physical ability score 2 (mean) Family satisfaction score 3 (mean) Psychological well-being score 4 (mean) There are no statistically significant differences in this table. 1. Measured as a summed score of thirteen household items plus two housing characteristics. 2. Physical ability score is based on respondent’s perception on three measures. Highest physical ability score is 6 and lowest is Family satisfaction score is based on respondent’s perception of how family gets along and depends on each other and how children are doing with their lives. Highest family satisfaction score is 3 and lowest is Psychological well-being score is based on respondent’s perception on six measures. Highest psychological well-being score is 18 and lowest is 6.

9 Respondents with all children outside the village are small in number but many are landless and poor Location of nearest child In householdIn villageOutside village Number of cases Wealth score 1 (mean) *** Percentage of those who do not have land25%40%74% Physical ability score 2 (mean) Family satisfaction score 3 (mean) *** Psychological well-being score 4 (mean) ** 9 Significance levels: *=.05 level; **=.01 level; ***=.001 level based on chi-square test and ANOVA test 1.Measured as a summed score of thirteen household items plus two housing characteristics. 2. Physical ability score is based on respondent’s perception on three measures. Highest physical ability score is 6 and lowest is Family satisfaction score is based on respondent’s perception of how family gets along and depends on each other and how children are doing with their lives. Highest family satisfaction score is 9 and lowest is Psychological well-being score is based on respondent’s perception on six measures. Highest psychological well-being score is 18 and lowest is 6.

10 Children’s contribution to parents by child’s current location of residence 10

11 Percent of children sending money to parents in past year by location of child 11

12 Direction of contributions between migrant children and parents 12

13 Physical and psychological health of respondent and spouse by migration status of child Migration status of child Has no current or returned migrant child Has current migrant child Has returned migrant child Number of cases Percent distribution of current health status (a) Good Stayed the same Got worse Percent distribution of health status in past year (a) Improved Stayed the same Got worse Percent with functional limitation Percent with a household limitation Percent with an activity of daily living limitation Mean family satisfaction score Mean psychological well-being score Statistically significant tests have not been made for this table (a) By lowest score of either respondent or spouse.

14 Children living outside the village maintain social contact with their parents at least once a month 14 NA

15 Conclusion 15

16 Social Impacts High migration rates have not left older age parents alone. Not all able-bodied children have migrated. Majority of migrant children living outside the districts of their parents talked and/or had visits with their parents at least once a month. 16

17 Intergenerational solidarity Migration of adult children from the study communes does not leave elderly parents to work on their farms with no one to help. Children make different and complementary types of contributions to their parents depending on their location of residence. 17

18 Materials support and monetary exchanges Parents often provided material support to migrant children especially in financing costs incurred during the early stages of the migration process. During the entire time that the migrant children were away, a higher proportion contributed more to their parent’s material support (food, money, assets) than their parents contributed to theirs. The proportion of female migrants who contributed to this net positive flow was significantly higher than that of the male migrants. 18

19 Health and psychological well-being The situation of elderly parents with or without migrant children was comparable. Among respondents with or without a current or returned migrant child, percentages with functional limitations were virtually identical. Of note, a higher percentage of the elders with a returned migrant child suffered an activity of daily living limitation. This may indicate that some of the returned migrant children came home to care for their parents. 19

20 Future research, national development and policy Contrary to the view that the migration of adult children in Cambodia has negative social consequences on elderly parents, our research indicates generally positive impacts on the well-being of older age parents. The high average number of living children among the respondents allows them to benefit from complementary contributions from co- resident children, those living nearby and migrant children. At the same time, mobile phones enable parents and migrant children to maintain social contact with each other. 20

21 Despite the general positive results of our survey, many challenges face older people in Cambodia. – First, there is a small percent with all children living outside the village who are landless and poor. Programs should target these elderly. – Second, the intergenerational solidarity takes place within an overall context of poverty. This means that remittances, though they are frequent, tend to be small. – Third, the future will see declining family sizes, which could bring about changes to intergenerational exchanges. 21 Future research, national development and policy


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