A Comparative Study of Migrant Interactions with Elderly Parents in Rural Cambodia and Thailand

Zachary Zimmer, University of Utah
Kim Korinek, University of Utah
John Knodel, University of Michigan
Napaporn Chayovan, Chulalongkorn University

Internal migration in Southeast Asia raises questions about strains upon traditional systems of support for elders. While remittances to origin households can play a role in rural household economies, uncertainty remains regarding whether and under which circumstances children remit or maintain contact with aging parents. This paper examines remittances and visits by adult children of rural elderly in two countries using data from 2004 SEC (Cambodia) and 1995 SWET (Thailand). Analyses considers what spatially dispersed children do to support parents; whether traits of parents; migrants; or households from which they originate enhance or detract from these expressions of intergenerational exchange; and how remittance, visits, and determinants vary across countries. Comparisons of conditions and characteristics of remittance and contact across Thai and Cambodian families allows for insights for refining notions of how social, economic, and cultural forces motivate provision of support to aging parents.

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Presented in Session 15: Adult Children's Migration and the Wellbeing of Older Parents in International Perspective