Seasonal mobility and well-being of older people: The case of ‘Snowbirds’ to Sanya, China

Lirong Kou, Honggang Xu, Mei Po Kwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seasonal retired migrants have increased rapidly in developing countries in recent years. This article adopts a relational perspective to understand the relationships between older people's seasonal mobility and well-being. It shows that the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of seasonal mobility and the non-western sociocultural context influence older people's relations with their places of origin and destination, which in turn shape their well-being experiences during seasonal mobility. Narrative analysis of interview data from five pairs of ‘snowbirds’ to Sanya, China, reveals that seasonal mobility and well-being of older people are evolving processes, interwoven with risks and opportunities. Older people construct routinized daily activities, stable social relations, and peer-supporting and active-aging environments in their place of destination to maintain short-term well-being. However, they encounter difficulties in integrating the corporeal and social dimensions of their bodily experiences and constructing long-term well-being due to their separations from their lifelong relations in their places of origin. But overall, seasonal mobility creates alternative options for aging across multiple places and promotes leisure-oriented aging life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Place
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Mobility
  • Relational well-being
  • Seasonal retirement migration
  • The Chinese sociocultural context
  • The relational approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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