Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Heying J. Zhan

Second Advisor

Erin Ruel

Third Advisor

Eric R. Wright


My dissertation investigates the experiences of older African immigrants who immigrated to the U.S. after the U.S. Immigration Act 1990. Using in-depth interviews with 27 older adults (55+) from Sub-Saharan Africa living in Georgia, the dissertation focuses on the population of older African immigrants in the U.S. who continue their work lives or begin them in the U.S. I apply thematic analysis to highlight emerging themes.

The life course perspective of the dissertation unveils the historical time and context of the country of origin, with the timing of personal lives often dictating the migration journey. The concepts of 'double consciousness' and 'transnationalism' shed light on the participants' unique construction of racial or cultural boundaries between themselves and African Americans. The maintenance of immigrant cultures not only aids in their sense of belonging and cultural identity in the new home of Georgia but also enriches the cultural fabric of the U.S. Contrary to the aging in place ideal in America, older African immigrants did not show significant attachments to their homes in Georgia. The fact that they have homes in both the U.S. and their countries of origin and express desires for their final resting places in their country of origin underscores the linked lives, human agency, and the relationships they maintain in both places as lived experiences in a life course perspective of immigrant African older adults. Their ambivalence on the importance of home in both counties challenges the meaning and understanding of home, inviting a deeper appreciation of their unique circumstances.

This study significantly enriches the literature on the meaning of identity, home, place, and migration. The findings offer valuable insights for policymakers, sociologists, anthropologists, gerontologists, and social workers, equipping them with a deeper understanding of older African immigrants, their experiences, and aging plans as they become part of the rapidly growing population of older adults in the U.S. This understanding can inform policies and interventions that cater to the unique needs and aspirations of this demographic, fostering a more inclusive and supportive society.


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