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Gerontologist. 1987 Jun;27(3):266-72.

Migration patterns among the elderly: a developmental perspective.



The elderly tend to make 3 kinds of moves when they migrate: 1) When they retire, 2) When they experience moderate forms of disability, and 3) when they have major forms of chronic disability. In the 1st type of move, the migrant's support needs do not require nearness of kin. These migrants tend to be younger, healthier, wealthier, and more often have intact marriages than migrants in the counter streams. The 2nd type of move is typically compounded when deficits from widowhood and disability are combined. They generally move nearer to their children. Older persons moving to retirement destinations like Florida should typify the 1st move, whereas those moving from Florida to northern urban areas should typify the 2nd and 3rd moves. Those moving from northern states to Florida tend to be younger than those moving from Florida to northern states. 15.5% of those moving to Florida are over 75 years old whereas 40.6% of those moving north from Florida are over 75. 47.8% of those moving north are widowed, but only 17% of those moving to Florida are widowed. Limited kin resources is the motive for the 3rd move. Most 3rd-stage moves are local rather than long distance. There are 2 groups who do not follow the same migration pattern despite facing similar social pressures to make the 3 basic moves: 1) those moving between metropolitan and non-metropolitan places and 2) migrants from abroad who join their families. Migrants from abroad tend to live with their children more and live independently less frequently than any of the migration comparison groups. They also have the highest proportion of persons receiving welfare income.

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