Elders left behind: migration and family structures in Mexico
Adriana Lopez Ramirez, Brown University
This paper discusses the effect that social transfers in general, and remittances in particular, have on co-residential patterns among elders, as well as the role that international migration plays on reshaping traditional family models in Mexico. Migration brings both advantages and disadvantages to elderly population: it finances old age, and increases the risks of elders living alone in their villages. Results derived from the 2000 Mexican census suggest certain shift between traditional forms of co-residence—elders living with their children or other relatives—and the receipt of remittances, expanding elders’ array of living arrangements. Remittances play a major role configuring household composition, with institutionalization of social networks as the main mechanism by which this type of financial support is maintained as part of a constant flow of resources between generations.