Older Turkish migrants in Germany: why do they have a higher risk of feeling lonely?

Tineke Fokkema, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Robert Naderi, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany

The embedment of older people is due to the demographic transition in the most developed countries an important social question. This does not only affect the intergenerational relation and actual networks. It is also a question if and how older people feel embedded or lonely. This question is even more important looking at migrant populations. Many of the first generation immigrants in Germany are retired and do not intend to return to their country of origin for several reasons. It is a common belief that older migrants are, on average, lonelier than their native-born counterparts. Coping with differences in culture and social norms, language difficulties, adverse health status, economic hardship, being homesick, missing and worrying about their families and friends left behind, and the return-or-stay dilemma are often cited as the primary causes of their higher levels of loneliness. In this paper, we will examine the differences in the prevalence of later-life loneliness and its determinants between Turkish older migrants, aged 50-79, living in Germany and their German peers with no migration background. The data are from the first wave of the German Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) conducted in 2005, and an additional survey from 2006 of Turkish nationals in Germany. For the comparison only Germans without migration background are included to the analysis. To identify the factors explaining possible differences in loneliness among the two groups, multivariate regression analyses will be performed using the six-item De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale as dependent variable. Aim of this paper is to understand differences in loneliness between the two populations in Germany and to find explanatory factors.

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Presented in Session 20: Ageing in place and older migrants