Intergenerational contact in European transnational families: a case study of Belgium

Tom De Winter, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Suzana M. Koelet, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Helga A. G. de Valk, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel

This paper focuses on transnational family relations among European migrants in Belgium. European migrants represent a large and growing share of immigrants in many European countries including Belgium. Although they have been at the hearth of EU mobility policies for many years now, this group of migrants has been studied scarcely. Very little is known on European migrant families and the impact of European mobility and transnationality on these families. Knowing more about the ways in which mobility within Europe affects family life is crucial within the context of an aging European population. The current paper aims for the first time to provide insight into the family relations of European migrants by studying this group of migrants in Belgium. More specifically, it focuses on the intergenerational contact between individual migrants and their parents. The central first question is what the effect is of the different context for migration and mobility of European and non-European migrants concerning their intergenerational contact. Second we investigate the diversity within the group of European migrants. Third we explain main determinants for intergenerational contact of European migrants building on insights of family sociology and migration studies. We use the first wave of the Belgian Generations and Gender Survey. The data include information on contact of individual migrants with their parents (both type and frequency of contact) and includes a wide range of relevant individual and family background characteristics that will be used for explaining transnational contact among European families in the multivariate analyses of the study.

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Presented in Session 73: Immigration and the welfare state