This paper focuses on the so-called ‘zero generation’: the parents of first-generation migrants who are initially left behind in the migrant country of origin and who may subsequently follow their children in migration or engage in transnational back-and-forth mobility. We challenge the prevailing optic on the left-behind older generation which sees them as dependent and in need of care, and stress instead their active participation both in migration and in the administration of care and support to their children and grandchildren. Drawing on interviews with mainly zero-generation Albanians, but also some first-generation migrants, in various geographical contexts – Albania, Italy, Greece and the UK – we trace their evolving patterns of mobility, intergenerational care, wellbeing and loneliness both in Albania and abroad. In telling the often-overlooked story of the zero generation, we highlight both their vulnerability and agency in different circumstances and at different times, shaped by family composition and the ageing process.

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Population, Space and Place
Department of Sociology

King, R, Cela, E, Fokkema, T, & Vullnetari, J. (2014). The Migration and Well-Being of the Zero Generation: Transgenerational Care, Grandparenting, and Loneliness amongst Albanian Older People. Population, Space and Place, 20, 728–738. doi:10.1002/psp.1895