From youth migration to the migration of the elderly: The paradoxes of host society aging

Nikolay Sokolov, Liliya Rekhtina

Research output


The article assesses structural-age changes in the phenomenon of migration. Migration as a mass process is now increasingly subject to the consequences of population ageing, leading to a process that can be called 'migration of the elderly'. Paradoxically, the discovery of this phenomenon was an additional result of the study into the social risks of youth migration. Interestingly, the aging of migration manifests itself precisely against the backdrop of youth migration transformation. Thus, we have found them to be interrelated and mutually complementary processes. The methodology of this research lies at the intersection of theories exploring the phenomenon of mass migration and sociological concepts that describe the aging of the population, primarily those studying the 'third age'. The empirical basis of the study is formed by street polls conducted in St. Petersburg in 2016. The surveys collected data on the age, gender, geographical and occupational structure of migrants. The analysis focused on a target group of migrants who moved to St. Petersburg over the age of forty, in the period 1995-2016. These studies reveal the 'aging' and 'growing up' of migration processes. The nature of 'senior' migration differs from the stereotypes about 'youth' migration. Social and family ties play a leading role here, as elderly migrants are oriented towards them. The observed trends of migration aging allow us to predict a significant complication of adaptation and integration. This can lead to inefficiency in the traditional mechanisms behind the interaction of the host community and senior migrants. Older migrants are not viewed as a cheap labour by the host country, as this category of migrants requires special treatment and approach. Senior migration includes mechanisms of social reconstruction, which captures the host society from the inside, acting as a powerful creative source. It is also a source of serious risks: this could lead to the radical impairment of migration management on the part of the constituent entities of the host community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-66
Number of pages16
JournalZhurnal Issledovanii Sotsial'noi Politiki
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2018

Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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