Does it matter where the children are? The well-being of elderly people ‘left behind’ by migrant children in Moldova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper empirically evaluates the wellbeing of elderly individuals left behind' by their adult migrant children in Moldova. Using data from a nationally representative household survey conducted in 2011-12 in Moldova, the wellbeing outcomes of elderly individuals aged 60 and older with and without adult children living abroad are compared (N = 1,322). A multi-dimensional wellbeing index is constructed on the basis of seven indicators within four dimensions of wellbeing: physical health, housing, social wellbeing and emotional wellbeing. Probit regressions are used to predict the probability of an elderly individual being considered well in each indicator and then on total index level. The results reveal that elderly persons with an adult migrant child have a higher probability of being well in one physical health indicator. Following correction for the selectivity of migration using an instrumental variable approach, however, the migration of an adult child is no longer found to predict significantly the wellbeing of their elderly parents in any dimension, suggesting that migration bears limited consequences for elderly wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-632
Number of pages26
JournalAgeing & Society
Issue number3
Early online date2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

JEL classifications

  • o15 - "Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration"
  • i32 - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
  • j14 - "Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-labor Market Discrimination"


  • elderly
  • migration
  • Moldova
  • multi-dimensional wellbeing
  • wellbeing
  • adult
  • adult child
  • child
  • health
  • household
  • housing
  • human
  • instrumental variable analysis
  • major clinical study
  • migrant
  • probability
  • CARE

Cite this