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Consequences of Internal and Cross-Border Migration of Adult Children for their Older Age Parents in Cambodia: A Micro Level Analysis

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionHak, Sochanny, Il Oeur, John McAndrew, and John E. Knodel. 2011. "Consequences of Internal and Cross-Border Migration of Adult Children for their Older Age Parents in Cambodia: A Micro Level Analysis." PSC Research Report No. 11-745. November 2011.

Cambodia provides a unique setting in which internal and cross-border migration in search of employment has become an increasing reality inescapably linked to the processes of development and globalization occurring throughout Southeast Asia. In Cambodia most of this migration emanates from rural to urban areas within the country as well as to rural and urban destinations outside of the country, especially in Thailand. Yet little research has been conducted to examine the consequences of such migration for the families involved.

Our paper examines migration at the family level with a focus on the variable effects of internal and cross-border migration for rural older-age parents who remain in the areas of origin. The analysis is based on quantitative and qualitative data from a study conducted in June and July 2010 in two communes of Battambang Province. One commune is located relatively near the Thai border while the other is off a national highway that connects the province to the capital Phnom Penh. The quantitative data comes from a survey of 265 respondents aged 60 to 70 with information they provided about themselves and their 1,268 children. The findings from the survey are richly supplemented by qualitative data from 30 open-ended follow-up interviews conducted with a sub-sample of the elderly respondents. The research findings include analysis about exchanges of material support, contact between migrants and parents, and associations of internal and cross-border migration on the material and psychological well-being of parents. The modest contrasts associated with internal and international migrations for families found in our study sites underscore that such findings are very much conditioned by specific settings thus making unqualified generalizations difficult.

Country of focus: Cambodia.

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