Working paper abstract

#2012-082

The impact of migration on elderly left behind in Moldova

Franziska Gassmann, Melissa Siegel, Michaella Vanore & Jennifer Waidler

The purpose of this paper is to empirically evaluate the well-being of elderly left behind by migrant household members in Moldova. Using data derived from a nationally-representative, large-scale household survey conducted between September 2011 and February of 2012 among 3,255 households in all regions of Moldova (except Transnistria) with a total sample of 1,743 households containing at least one elderly person aged 60 or over, we empirically look at different dimensions of elderly well-being. Well-being of elderly in Moldova is broken down by 5 different dimensions of well-being: physical health and independence, material well-being, housing well-being, social well-being, and emotional health. Each indicator is examined individually and then aggregated together as an index. Well-being is also broken down by age group and migration status of the household (current migrant, return migrant and no migration experience). Migration in and of itself does not seem to have a negative impact on the well-being of the elderly in any of the dimensions analyzed. The age of the elderly and the material living standard experienced by the household are much stronger predictors of well-being in a number of different dimensions. The results suggest that migration does not play a significant role in shaping elderly well-being outcomes, contrary to popular belief.

Key words: migration, care-giver migration, elderly poverty, multi-dimensional poverty, Moldova

JEL classification: I32, J14, J61