Living alone is a fundamental factor in the life path of immigrant men in France. Firstly, this paper seeks to compare the situation of isolated immigrant men living in the different forms of available housing (hostels for migrant workers, apartments on the private market, subsidised housing blocks). Hostel residents stand out clearly, in terms of their social, family, migratory and residential characteristics. The hostel population formed rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s. Older than other migrants, they were often already married and fathers when they arrived in France. Consequently, their behaviour and speech now reflects a real duality: continuing close contact with the country of origin and a strong attachment to France. They are at once “from here and there”. Secondly, examination of a few statistical indicators highlights the ageing and increasing vulnerability of hostel residents over the 1990-1999 period. This observation supports the idea that the conversion of hostels into permanent welfare residences represents a watershed for the sector. The residents have two kinds of expectation: first, for support through retirement and old age and access to rights and medical care; secondly, for management of new forms of cohabitation with the expected diversification of the profile of residents.
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