Ageing and migration in Bolivia

Migration has significant consequences for the ‘left behind’ – the family members who do not migrate. These include economic and social aspects of their wellbeing.

Building on Dr Bastia’s previous research, this project explores the consequences that the emigration of the younger generation has for the older generation. The aim is to provide a better understanding of the ways in which the migrants’ parents cope with the absence of their children. This will complement existing work on the left behind that generally deals with the consequences that migration has for the migrants’ children.

Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America with great variety in its migration streams: Bolivians can be found in Argentina, Brazil, USA, Spain and Italy, among other countries. Focusing on five regions in Bolivia, Tanja’s research will evidence the widely varying impact that migration has on the older population in terms of gender, ethnicity, and class.

The study will sample interviewees across different living arrangements and migration destinations to study how these bear on the wellbeing of older people who stay behind.

Research questions

  • What kind of consequences does international migration have for the older people who have been left behind in the migrants’ country of origin?
  • How do gender, ethnicity and class influence the ways in which older people left behind are able to cope with the absence of their adult children?
  • How do these processes vary across different regions in Bolivia?

Principal Investigator

Dr Tanja Bastia, Senior Lecturer, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester

Funder and funding period

The Leverhulme Trust, Research Fellowship, (Following initial research funded through MICRA Seedcorn Fund), February  2018 - May 2019

Academic disciplines involved

International Development, Geography and Sociology

External Partners

HelpAge International



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