Swimming Against the Current: The Migration of Elders to the South


  • Pascual Gerardo Garci­a Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja
  • Ronaldo Munck Dublin City University




return migration, adaptation, identity shift, qualified migrant, Turkish, Germany, the US


Every day there are more elderly people who decide to live in a different country from their country of birth. This phenomenon of older migrants reveals a distinct counter-current from the economically more-developed Northern countries to the less-developed and developing South, therefore requiring a new and different theoretical analysis that does not fit into the pre-existing frameworks of labour migration and development. For some researchers, these migrants are considered residential tourists, who have no home or place of belonging neither in the developing and less-developed areas nor within existing theoretical frameworks.  In order to conceptualize trends and identify the patterns of this phenomenon, this investigation will examine the migration of retirees and/or pensioners from the northern hemisphere who have settled in Vilcabamba (Southern Ecuador) through a theoretically informed engagement with key informants and a series of qualitative semi-structured interviews. It is hoped that this project will enable further research in this largely uncharted line of research on the flow of migration that ‘swims against the current’.


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Author Biographies

Pascual Gerardo Garci­a, Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja

Professor and junior research at the economics deppartment of the Technical University of Loja

Ronaldo Munck, Dublin City University

Professor Ronnie Munck is Head of Civic Engagement at DCU and a Visiting Professor of International Development at the University of Liverpool and St. Mary's University, Nova Scotia.


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How to Cite

Garci­a, P. G., & Munck, R. (2020). Swimming Against the Current: The Migration of Elders to the South. Migration Letters, 17(2), 339–348. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v17i2.884