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‘They had to Go’: Indian Older Adults’ Experiences of Rationalizing and Compensating the Absence of Migrant Children

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  • Ajay Bailey

    () (Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University, 3512 JE Utrecht, The Netherlands
    Transdisciplinary Center for Qualitative Methods, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal 576104, Karnataka, India)

  • Jyoti Hallad

    () (Population Research Centre, J.S.S Institute of Economic Research, Dharwad 580004, India)

  • K. S. James

    () (Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India)

Abstract

In transnational families, it is often the older adults who are left-behind or choose to stay behind. Currently the population aged 60 years and older in India constitutes over 7 percent of the total population (1.25 billion) and is projected to triple in the next four decades. In the past family has been the major source of support in later life. One of the consequences of increased mobility is the decreasing role of family in care provision. The Indian middle-class norms on higher education, which stressed on engineering and medicine, have resulted in professionally educated children leaving the parental home to seek work and thus family life in other geographical locations. In this paper we examine how transregional and transnational mobilities and the resulting absences impact the lives of older adults. We draw upon 37 in-depth interviews conducted in Dharwad district of Karnataka, India. The results show that older adults employ two strategies of rationalizing absence and compensating absence of migrant children. These strategies reflect the resilience of the older adults to make sense of this trans-local family life, that in a previous generation they were not aware of.

Suggested Citation

  • Ajay Bailey & Jyoti Hallad & K. S. James, 2018. "‘They had to Go’: Indian Older Adults’ Experiences of Rationalizing and Compensating the Absence of Migrant Children," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(6), pages 1-15, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:6:p:1946-:d:151726
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hau Chyi & Shangyi Mao, 2012. "The Determinants of Happiness of China’s Elderly Population," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 167-185, March.
    2. Böhme, Marcus H. & Persian, Ruth & Stöhr, Tobias, 2015. "Alone but better off? Adult child migration and health of elderly parents in Moldova," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 211-227.
    3. Keera Allendorf & Roshan K. Pandian, 2016. "The Decline of Arranged Marriage? Marital Change and Continuity in India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 42(3), pages 435-464, September.
    4. Steven Ruggles & Misty Heggeness, 2008. "Intergenerational Coresidence in Developing Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(2), pages 253-281, June.
    5. T.K. Jayaraman & Chee-Keong Choong & Ronald Ravinesh Kumar, 2012. "Role of remittances in India's economic growth," Global Business and Economics Review, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 14(3), pages 159-177.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    transnational families; absence; ageing; care; emotional costs; India;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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