The older adult population in the Netherlands is not only increasing: it is also getting more diverse. It currently counts 332,000 people aged 55 and older with a non-Western migration background – this is 6% of the older population, including 108,000 of Moroccan and Turkish origin and 112,000 of Surinamese and Antillean origin. According to the population forecast of Statistics Netherlands, by 2040 this number will exceed 810,000, which represents 12% of the older population. Although these older migrants have spent most of their lives in the Netherlands, many feel a strong sense of belonging to their ‘own’ group and culture.
For example, older Moroccan and Turkish migrants are concentrated in specific neighbourhoods in the larger cities, many remain committed to traditional family values and they make little use of formal care for the elderly. In addition, they remain strongly connected to their country of origin by having regular contact with family and friends who stayed behind, by visiting their place of birth every year and by owning a house there. The first part of the presentation deals with these aspects, with special attention for differences between the first generation (the current older migrants) and the second generation (the future older migrants) and the underlying motives of transnational belonging. The second part focuses on the effect that belonging to the ‘own’ group and country of origin have on older migrants’ well-being.
Tineke Fokkema is a Senior Researcher at the Families & Generations group of the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW) and endowed professor of Ageing, Families and Migration at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Within IMISCOE she is coordinator of the Standing Committee ‘Older Migrants’. She is an internationally regarded specialist on ageing, intergenerational solidarity, migration, and their intersection. In 2014-2018 she was involved in the ERC Research project ‘Families in Context’ led by Prof. P.A. Dykstra, which focused on the social implications of growing old in a migration context. Fokkema has extensive experience with analyzing large-scale cross-national surveys (SHARE, GGS, TIES) and has done fieldwork among older migrants in Italy and Morocco. She holds a PhD in Economics from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and has published in leading academic journals (The Journals of Gerontology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Population, Space and Place, European Journal of Ageing, Ageing and Society).