How Age Impacts Reasons for Migration: Examining Migration from Northern Latin America to the United States

Faculty Sponsor

Kimberly Fields


Arts and Sciences


Political Science

ORCID Identifier(s)


Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2019


Previous studies on migration lack a focus on how age is a variable in the understanding of why individuals migrate when they do. This research provides a comprehensive examination on how age determines one’s reason for migration. Using the process of content analysis, I evaluated 30 interviews collected and transcribed by the Minnesota Digital Library for individuals that migrated to the United States from Northern Latin America during the time frame 1960 to the present. I examine to see if children (ages 0-17) migrate for family reunification, young adults (ages 18-30) migrate for economic reasons, adults (ages 31-60) migrate due to community causation/social networks, and if older adults (ages 61+) migrate for family reunification. My analysis showed that children migrate for family reunification and young adults migrate for economic reasons; however, my analysis was unable to confirm why adults migrate as there was no majority reason and I was not able to explain why older adults migrate due to a lack of data within that particular age category. Age is an important factor in studying migration as it allows for a detailed understanding of who is migrating to the United States and their reasons behind their action.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

My name is Hilary Van Oss, and I am currently a senior at Valparaiso University where I study Political Science and Global Service with a history minor. My interests in migration patterns and reasons for migration stem from working with refugee populations in the United States and Costa Rica.I found it particularly interesting that very little research done on examining the correlation between age and migration. After college, I hope to work for a non-profit that services the refugee or immigrant population in the United States.

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