John E. Knodel photo

How left behind are rural parents of migrant children? Evidence from Thailand

Publication Abstract

Knodel, John E., Jiraporn Kespichayawattana, Chanpen Saengtienchai, and Suvinee Wiwatwanich. 2010. "How left behind are rural parents of migrant children? Evidence from Thailand." Ageing and Society, 30(5): 811-841.

The consequences of adult children's migration from rural areas for older parents who remain behind are keenly debated. While the mass media and international advocacy organisations favour an 'alarmist' view of desertion, the academic literature makes more sanguine assessments using the 'household strategy' and 'modified extended family' perspectives. We examine the relationship between the migration of adult children and various dimensions of older parents' wellbeing in Thailand using evidence from a survey that focused on the issues. The results provide little support for the alarmist view, but instead suggest that parents and adult children adapt to the social and economic changes associated with development in ways not necessarily detrimental to intergenerational relations. The migration of children, especially to urban areas, often benefits parents' material support while the recent spread of cell phones has radically increased their ability to maintain social contact. Nevertheless, changing living arrangements through increased migration and the smaller family sizes of the youngest age groups of older people pose serious challenges for aspects of filial support, especially at advanced ages when chronic illness and frailty require long-term personal care. Dealing with this emerging situation in a context of social, economic and technological change is among the most critical issues facing those concerned with the implications of rapid population ageing in Thailand and elsewhere.

10.1017/s0144686x09990699

Country of focus: Thailand.

Browse | Search | Books | Next

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Study by Miller et al. finds lack of expansion in Medicaid has led to >15,600 extra deaths/year. Governor elections next week in KY, MS, LA, & VA could effect this.

Do paid family leave policies help fix the gender pay gap? Bailey's study found the opposite.

More News

Highlights

Sarah Burgard appointed as next PSC director

National Study of Caregiving (NSOC) Extended

More Highlights


Connect with PSC follow PSC on Twitter Like PSC on Facebook