Intergenerational Relations and Migration: Closely Connected despite Distance?

Ronny König , Universität Zürich
Bettina Isengard, Universität Zürich
Marc Szydlik, Universität Zürich

Intergenerational support and cohesion are important characteristic of family relationships in contemporary ageing societies. Today, few families live permanently in the same household or under the same roof. Instead, adult family generations are generally characterized by multi-locality, raising the question of (emotional) closeness or distance. However, so far, most studies have mainly addressed intergenerational relations of the native population, whereas migrant and transnational families have often been neglected or limited to a specific (ethnic) group. Yet, against the background of contemporary multi-ethnic and transnational societies, empirical studies of intergenerational relationships of migrants are particularly crucial. Therefore, this contribution examines the extent to which contacts, emotional closeness and the importance of the relationship depend on the local and ethnic background of the generations. Research questions are: Does multi-locality inhibit intergenerational relations? Which proximity patterns can be identified in regard to population groups and within various migrant groups? The empirical analyses are based on the representative study "SwissGen – Intergenerational Relations in Switzerland". The survey was conducted in 2018/19, including more than 10,000 respondents. The analyses prove that adult family generations are strongly connected with each other. However, in addition to cultural variations in Switzerland, we can observe that migration affects intergenerational cohesion, conflict, and ambivalence. This especially applies to aging family members – and in particular to aging family generations living in different countries. Furthermore, we also find specific patterns of different groups of migrant and transnational families according to types of migration, duration of stay, citizenship, and country of origin.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality