Outward migration from large cities: are older migrants in Nairobi ‘returning’?

Falkingham, Jane, Chepngeno-Langat, Gloria and Evandrou, Maria (2012) Outward migration from large cities: are older migrants in Nairobi ‘returning’? Population, Space and Place, 18, (3), 327-343. (doi:10.1002/psp.678).


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Circular and return migrations between rural and urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa have persisted over time, driven by a combination of socio-cultural, economic, and structural forces. Much of the literature on migration in Africa focuses on labour migration. However, old age also marks a stage in the life course often associated with migration. This paper examined the determinants of out-migration among older people living in the slums of Nairobi. The paper used a prospective population study of 2,270 older people, followed up over a 3-year period. The annual rate of out-migration was 4%. Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to model the effect of ties to place and to socio-economic capital on propensity to out-migrate. The presence of adult children outside the city was a significant pull factor for both men and women. The propensity to out-migrate decreased with length of residence in the slum. Attachment to the slum through participation in voluntary communal activities was also negatively associated with out-migration, particularly for men. The poorest older people were more likely to leave the city, highlighting the effect of deprivation in triggering return migration. Looking at future migration intentions, only one in five older people reported that they intend to relocate from the slums, highlighting that, in the future, there will be a growing number of people ageing ‘in situ’ in poor urban areas. This has implications for policy makers concerned with the provision of services to vulnerable older people who may be unable to engage in livelihood strategies as health deteriorates with age.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1002/psp.678
ISSNs: 1544-8444 (print)
1544-8452 (electronic)
Keywords: return migration, sub-saharan africa, urban slums, older people
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Social Statistics
ePrint ID: 193617
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2012Published
12 July 2011Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2011 07:43
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:43
Centre for Population Change: Understanding Population Change in the 21st Century
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (RES-625-28-0001)
Led by: Jane Cecelia Falkingham
1 January 2009 to 31 December 2013
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/193617

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