The migration of old age pensioners in Poland – factors, directions, consequences Cover Image
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Migracje emerytów w Polsce – czynniki, kierunki, konsekwencje
The migration of old age pensioners in Poland – factors, directions, consequences

Author(s): Sławomir Pytel
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Sociology, Migration Studies
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: migration; old age pensioners; migration of old age pensioners; Poland
Summary/Abstract: Migrations of senior citizens are an important aspect of the social and economic development of local communities. Especially in the era of ageing populations and increasing life span, they are a challenge for local governments. The social capital constituted by senior citizens is very valuable and should be supported and strengthened. In the places where the pensioners migrate to, new types of services offered specifically to the elderly may be developed. The main aim of the study was to identify the patterns of the migration of the old age pensioners in Poland with regard to the stage of life they are in. It has been assumed that there are certain differences in this respect between old age pensioners within different age ranges. It has been found that they issue from different health status of the senior citizens and the benefits the destination offers. The research findings allowed showing the real scale of the retirees migration at the municipal level, which is around 30,000 annually as to internal migration, and about 2 thousand (migration turnover) as to international migration. The migrations are dominated by females, who migrate about three times more often than males, whereas the main directions of the migrations are municipalities, and they are twice more numerous than to rural communities.Since the phenomenon is a multidimensional process, the paper looks at migration concepts with regard to spatial, motivational, cost and benefit approach, and discusses the dynamic model of the senior citizens migration consisting of three cycles: industrial, post-industrial and informational. In each of the cycles the factors that have influenced migration were indicated, as well as the directions in which migration occurred, and the benefits and costs borne by the migrating pensioners.What should be indicated among the migration factors in the industrial period, are health and familial and financial factors. They played a major role in making a decision about migration by the pensioner. The dominant destination was the city or town, because it is associated with easier life. Unfortunately, during the industrial period, the migrating pensioners lost more than they gained, in terms of housing, economic and social aspects. The most frequently, the migrants were elderly, poorly educated pensioners, who moved within short distances.In the post-industrial period, familial and financial factors were the dominant aspects, whereas health was ofthe secondary (far lesser) importance. The main destination of the migration was the city or town. The costs were outweighed by the benefits, and the most important of the latter were housing and social benefits. The most frequently migrating pensioners were younger, well-educated senior citizens, who moved within short distances.In the information period, health and environmental factors play the most important role among the migrationfactors, while the main directions are: to the city or town and abroad. The benefits (the most important of whichare housing and social benefits) outweigh the costs. The most frequently, the migrants are younger, very well-educated pensioners, who migrate at long distances. In the case of industrial society, pushing out forces play a pivotal role, whereas in the case of post-industrial and informational societies, the forces of attraction are crucial.The conducted survey of migration studies in chronological terms, subdivided into study periods, indicates that the monograph is innovative, and that there is no similar study of such a research scope in the literature on thesubject. The paper shows the regional background of the migration of old age pensioners in other countries. The migration of elderly people in the Mediterranean, North America and selected Asian countries was discussed in detail, therefore it was possible to determine prospects of the migration of old age pensioners in Poland. It has been found that there is a significant impact of tourism on the migration of senior citizens.In the monograph, on the basis of questionnaire surveys, the factors that influenced the pensioner’s decision about migration have been determined. The causes of migration have been further distinguished due to gender, education, age and family status.The main reasons for the migration of the old age pensioners comprise:• building or purchasing a house or a flat,• improving the standard and quality of life,• stopping work and going into retirement,• deterioration of health, the need for treatment and care,• desire to improve the climatic and environmental conditions,• accompanying the family when they move to a different place of living,• intention to reduce the living area and decrease relevant fees,• high tourist and social attractiveness of the destination,• need to take care of grandchildren,• loneliness and longing for the family.The phenomenon of the migration of Polish senior citizens was characterized in terms of their material situation, housing situation and family situation. The study comprises the description of the direction and volume of the migration of the old age pensioners. The scale of the phenomenon occurring between 1990 and 2013 was determined with regard to both national and international migration. The occurrence of migration cycles in five-year periods was shown and a summative analysis of the cycles was carried out. In three time periods (2000, 2006, 2013), a meticulous analysis was performed individually for gender, within five-year intervals, as to influx to and outflow from municipalities of up to 5, 10, 20, 20–100 thousand inhabitants and more than 100 and 200 thousand inhabitants. In the aforesaid time periods, the municipalities where the highest number of pensioners migrated into were indicated, both in absolute values and per 1000 inhabitants. A spatial distribution of the influx of the pensioners was presented. In addition, the influx of the retired people with regard to different age groups was presented cartographically: up to 70 years of age, 70–79, and 80 years of age and above.The volume of the migration influx of the retired people to municipalities in Poland was determined, and thus itproved to be systematically increasing from 1990 until 1998 when it reached the highest level (1025 pensioners). After 1998, it dropped to about 800 immigrants in 2001, and has remained at this level until today. The typology of the migration of the pensioners was developed in three aspects:• spatial classification of the migrants’ age (k-means clustering),• typology of the causes of the migration (cluster analysis method),• typology of the migration directions (character table method).Distinguished types have been presented graphically. On the basis of the proposals of actions of numerous local authorities, recommendations have been made for the other ones. They were presented in 10 groups concerning the following issues: social activity, volunteering, actions preventing loneliness, health promotion, the Silver Economy, transport and infrastructure, meals, housing, senior citizens-friendly places, information for senior citizens. The study of the senior citizens migration counters the myth persisting in Polish society that “you cannot shift an old tree without it dying” – the monograph unequivocally confirms that the migration of Polish pensioners amounts to several tens of thousands each year during the period considered. Such a scale of migration may indeed cause the emergence of retirement towns in the nearest future (so far, senior citizens settlements are growing up in our cities or towns).The migration of old age pensioners plays an important role in the social and economic development of cities and villages. It brings about transfer of income to these places, development of the infrastructure necessary for the retirees, and creation of new jobs associated with the assistance to the elderly people. On the other hand, it may become a burden on municipal social services because of an increasing demand for care services, and it also may reduce the investment of enterprises looking for new employees. Whether the migration of the retirees will facilitate the development or will become a hindrance to our cities and villages, will depend on social policy, especially in terms of developing the social potential of active, creative, experienced and professional senior citizens.

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-83-226-3258-1
  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-83-226-3257-4
  • Page Count: 208
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Language: Polish