Lifestyle migration

Authored by: Karen O’Reilly , Michaela Benson

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Gerontology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415631143
eBook ISBN: 9780203097090
Adobe ISBN: 9781136221033


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Lifestyle migration is the movement of relatively affluent individuals to new destinations in pursuit of a better way of life (Benson and O’Reilly 2009). The movement may be permanent or temporary, full- or part-time, or a fluid combination of these. Nevertheless, this contemporary form of mobility holds a sense of permanence; lifestyle migrants often speak of establishing a new home, new attachments, and a new life, even while retaining a strong sense of their ‘roots’ (Korpela 2009a; Gustafson 2001 and 2009). Lifestyle migrants are distinguishable from labour migrants and corporate expatriates because they move as individuals or with families in pursuit of mainly leisured lives. They are relatively affluent but not necessarily wealthy in absolute terms, and therefore are neither economic refugees nor transnational global elites (see Farrar 2010). The ‘good life’ they seek is intangible rather than material; it is expressed as a slower pace (Korpela 2009b), quality of life (O’Reilly 2000), freedom from constraints, or downsizing (Hoey 2009), and the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant climate or a beautiful landscape (Benson 2011).

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