The Effect of Transnational Migration on Traditional Family Structure in the Palauan Diaspora

Author: Allison Kellam
Major: Sociology
Approved: Spring 2018
Status: Completed

Palau has high rates of transnational migration, with more Palauans living abroad than at home.  Many Palauans feel that high levels of migration affect family interactions.  In order to understand this relationship, Palauans living at home and abroad were asked questions about their level of involvement with the Palauan community while abroad, how familial interactions have changed, and expectations within the family.  Respondents were chosen based on time spent abroad and age (20-40).  This study found that Palauans both in the U.S. and in Palau use familial ties to assimilate into their new environment and that even when young Palauans feel as though they are accustomed to the culture, feelings of isolation can arise.  Additionally, this study found that Palauans are adapting to cultural expectations by reframing them in ways that are beneficial both to themselves and the community.  A final discovery shows an increased emphasis on the nuclear family amongst Palauans living abroad as a reaction to American culture.  This emphasis is beginning to expand to Palau, but at a much slower rate than among the Palauan community in America.