The break-up of the Soviet Union and the subsequent transition to market-led economies was accompanied by severe economic disruption. Significant research has been conducted into the impact of economic transition on living standards of the population in general and children in particular. However, there has been relatively little focusing on older people, despite the fact that the older population face particular challenges in terms of the falling value of pensions, shrinking government services and increased disruption to family and social networks as a result of the migration of adult children.
This project examines the living conditions and sources of finance and social support (both state and family) amongst older people living in the poorest countries of the former Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The project uses a mixed method design, combining quantitative analysis of recently available household survey data in each of the countries combined with in depth qualitative research in three case study countries of Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The research reveals that many older people are living in poverty and experiencing severe economic hardship. Despite receiving a pension, many older people continue to work in order to make ends meet. The family remains an essential source of support, both financially and emotionally. However the flow is far from one way, with grandparents providing support for grandchildren. For example, in Moldova where out migration has been high, almost 1 in 7 children in villages and 1 in 2 in towns live with their grandparents.
Falkingham, J.; Evandrou, M. Left behind in transition? Poverty, social networks and social support amongst older people in Central Asia and the Caucasus. ESRC End of Award Report, RES-167-25-0191. (2010) 8 pp.