Transnational Families in Europe: Care, inequalities and wellbeing

Transnational Families in Europe: Care, inequalities and wellbeing | School of Geography | University of Leeds

This innovative comparative research project investigates the relationships between caring responsibilities, inequalities and wellbeing among different generations of transnational families in the UK, Spain, France and Sweden.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought into stark relief the care deficits many European countries are confronting as ageing societies, with low-paid women migrants often filling gaps in formal care provision, while their own caring responsibilities for kin are often overlooked.

Demographic shifts due to population ageing and increased international migration are leading to major changes in the provision of care, social protection and intergenerational responsibilities. These transformations may exacerbate existing inequalities facing migrant families with care needs.

This research will compare migrant carers' and transnational families’ experiences within four partner countries with contrasting welfare models, migration regimes and post-colonial legacies. Using a multi-sited family-focused ethnographic and participatory action research methodology, we are working with partner organisations to train migrant peer researchers and support them to undertake research with families, building trust and capacity within communities.

The study will provide unique insights into how family care practices are negotiated between and within different generations of transnational families in Europe, while also considering their family ties in countries of origin. This timely project will capture the health, economic, social and emotional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on transnational families as the crisis unfolds, including changing intergenerational caring responsibilities and mobility strategies. It will explore the impacts of care on younger, middle & older generations’ wellbeing and opportunities, and how social reproductive and productive work are shaped by intersecting inequalities of gender, age and generation, disability, race, ethnicity/cultural background, and socio-economic and legal status. It will include a specific focus on young caregiving and how this affects children’s wellbeing, education and opportunities.

This interdisciplinary project will also explore how language barriers may perpetuate inequalities facing transnational carers and how younger generations may provide ‘language-brokering’ and help older family members to navigate bureaucratic legal and administrative systems to claim their rights.


The project will achieve significant societal impacts by providing a valuable evidence-base to inform policy in improving the wellbeing and equality of transnational families in Europe.

It will embed the learning in practice through the co-production of culturally appropriate tools and training materials that support young and adult carers and transnational families. The findings and outputs will be disseminated through community screenings, regional stakeholder workshops, key academic and practitioner conferences, and an international interdisciplinary Symposium.

The project will produce 14 high impact journal articles in the fields of migration studies, social and emotional geographies, childhood and youth studies, family sociology, sociolinguistics and migrant language education and a co-edited volume. The dataset will be archived for future researchers’ use.

Publications and outputs

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