Older Turkish immigrants have become a new socially vulnerable group

Large parts of the Turkish “guest workers” who are retiring in these years are poor. A new book highlights the serious challenges that many older people from ethnic minority groups will meet in the years to come.

Senior researcher Anika Liversage and senior researcher Vibeke Jakobsen from SFI - The Danish National Centre for Social Research have conducted a survey among 3,000 Turkish immigrants. The results of the survey is published in the book  'Ældre fra Tyrkiet - hverdagsliv og vilkår'.  The project was supported in 2012 with 2,2 million DKK from VELUX FONDEN.

According to the study from SFI, some of the older Turks survive by living with their adult children. Photos: Sally Chamomile Liversage.

“Ældre fra Tyrkiet” - excerpts from the book

Almost 50 years ago, at the end of the swinging sixties, Denmark was in labor shortage and guest workers from Turkey, Pakistan and the former Yugoslavia occupied some of the jobs. What happened next is well known: The oil crisis in 1973 led to a halt to immigration, but many of the primarily male migrants remained in Denmark and after a while, their wives and children migrated to Denmark as well. Rising unemployment, globalization and outsourcing of jobs caused great unemployment among these men, and time passed.

Today, this first generation of migrant workers has become old. Men, who were 24 years in 1970 are turning 70 in 2016 and they have been pensioners for years. This group of older people make the total Danish elderly population today more diverse than it used to be. We can therefore anticipate that the older ethnic minorities in the years to come will challenge e.g. the Danish elderly care system. Life for these older people may in fact be quite challenging and somewhat more difficult than life for most Danes of the same age.

For further information

Senior researcher Anika Liversage, SFI 

Phone: +45 3348 0857

E-mail: ani@sfi.dk