How Social Protection Policies and Institutions Contribute To Older Immigrants’ Wellbeing and Sense of Belonging to America

Awarded Scholars:
Rocío Calvo, Boston College
Mary C. Waters, Harvard University
Project Date:
Jul 2019
Award Amount:
$174,423
Project Programs:
Immigration and Immigrant Integration

This qualitative interview study will examine the experiences of older immigrants with the social safety net and the implications for their wellbeing and for perceptions of inclusion and belonging in U.S. society. In 2015, Hispanics 65 years old and older made up eight percent of the U.S. elderly population. By 2050, they are expected to account for 19.8 percent of that age group. Little research on immigrant integration has focused on the growing number of older adults. Sociologists Rocío Calvo and Mary Waters propose to help us understand public program participation by analyzing the quality of immigrant-service provider encounters, how the experience varies among elderly immigrants, and how this might affect their perceptions of belonging and deservingness, and their relative wellbeing. To better understand how elderly immigrants of varying legal status make ends meet and the consequences for their wellbeing and inclusion, the PIs will conduct qualitative interviews with Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Salvadoran immigrants ages 65 or older in two major metro areas with contrasting approaches to social protection, Boston and Miami. 

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