"Homeward" Bound: Determinants of Return Migration among Germany's Elderly Immigrants

Jenjira Yahirun, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper examines the determinants of return migration as foreign-born individuals approach old age in Germany. Return migration in later life engages a different set of conditions than return migration earlier on, including the framing of return as a possible retirement strategy. Using 23 years of longitudinal data from the German Socioeconomic Panel, this paper investigates how social and economic characteristics of male immigrants, as well as those of their wives, influence decisions to return “home.” Preliminary results suggest that those with the least education and weakest lifetime attachments to the labor force are more likely to emigrate. Family ties also count; marital status, the location of children and wives’ characteristics also determine who returns. These findings highlight the importance of situating return migration within the broader context of international migration and immigrant incorporation for future research.

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Presented in Poster Session 5