Perceptions of filial obligations among migrant and non-migrant elderly: Acomparison at the country of origin and destination

Helga A.G. de Valk, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Paulo M. Saad, United Nations

In this article we study perceptions of filial obligations of older persons in countries of origin and destination using surveys conducted in the Netherlands Antilles and in the Netherlands. The first objective of this study is to assess how migration from a country with poorly developed public support system to a country that provides welfare state security affects the perceptions of older persons regarding filial obligations. The second aim is to understand the conditions under which elderly attach more or less importance to filial obligations. The total sample includes 1,269 elderly aged 50 to 80 years of which 384 Antilleans living in the Netherlands Antilles, 264 are of Antillean origin living in the Netherlands and 621 having a Dutch background living in the Netherlands. By combining these data sets we have the unique opportunity to study the perceptions of elderly in the place of origin and place of destination in our analyses. Ordinal logistic regression results reveal that elderly at origin are more of the opinion that children should take care of their elderly parents and in particular provide them co-residence than is the case for immigrant elderly and natives in the host country. Our findings seem to confirm theories on acculturation: elderly in the Antilles adhere more to norms of filial obligation than Antillean immigrants living in the Netherlands. We do not find a relationship between perceptions and the age or current health condition of the older person among any of the three groups covered in the study. For all three groups of elderly, gender, educational attainment and marital status are important determinants for their perceptions of filial obligation.

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Presented in Session 17: Care for Older Persons: Needs and Implications