International Migration Experience and Standard of Living in Old Age
Mariano Sana, Louisiana State University
Chiung-Yin Hu, Louisiana State University
The comparison between migrants and their non-migrant counterparts in their countries of origin is at the core of migration research. This research has overwhelmingly focused on the short term. By contrast with other areas of demographic research, the lack of attention to the long-term effects of migration is glaring. Using data collected by the Mexican Migration Project, we assess long-term effects of individual migration by comparing former Mexican migrants with non-migrants in old age. We analyze retirement patterns, possession of assets and living arrangements. In Mexico, where only 40% of the workforce is covered by the social security system, our results suggest that long-term savings from migration act as a partial substitute for poor pension coverage in old age. In addition, even taking selectivity into account, former migrants possess more assets than non-migrants in old age. No clear conclusions can be drawn from the analysis on living arrangements.