The Effects of Children’s Migration on Elderly Parents Left Behind: Evidence From Indonesia

Sneha Kumar , Cornell University

Population aging, combined with the out-migration of young adults from less-developed areas, are significant demographic shifts occurring throughout much of the developing world. A priori, it is unclear how these two forces will shape the well-being of older dependents left-behind. Some commentators express concern about the negative effects of non-traditional family structures on older dependents (particularly in the absence of public alternatives to family-based care), while others argue that migration provides opportunities for improved well-being for families left-behind. The purpose of this paper is to tackle this empirical puzzle using three waves of recent panel data from the Indonesia Family Life Survey (2000, 2007, 2014), and by employing first-differenced regressions that isolate the effect of adult child’s migration on elderly parent’s health and mortality status. Preliminary results suggest that adult child’s migration improves older parent’s physical health (self-rated health and ADL index), but also increases parent’s depressive symptomology.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging