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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Retirement Migration in Europe: A Choice for a Better Life?


This article examines the impact of economic inequalities on the individual choices that North European retirees make when they migrate to Mediterranean countries. It considers a group of retired and early-retired migrants who live permanently in Spain and have limited economic resources. Through a qualitative methodology based on semi-structured interviews with retirement migrants as well as ethnographic observations and spontaneous conversations in the study site, we provide new sociological knowledge about the relations between retirement migration and the unequal risks of social exclusion that retirees must manage in Northern Europe. We find that for many of these migrants, moving represents a way of managing economic risks in retirement, improving their financial situation and status. At the same time, however, it introduces new vulnerabilities. The latter are all the more visible when unexpected political changes occur, such as the recent decision that the UK would leave the European Union (Brexit).

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Sociological Research Online


Christopher Phillipson (United Kingdom)

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