Euro-orphan or EU orphan [1] is a neologism used metaphorically to describe a "social orphan" in the European Union whose parents have migrated to another member state, typically for economic reasons. The child is left behind, often in the care of older relatives. The expression itself is a misnomer, since it is meant to describe temporary child abandonment, rather than the death of both parents. A similar name is White Orphans.[2]

Such abandoned children may require therapeutic or psychiatric care to cope.[3] The EU supports family reunification.[4] Migrating families are sometimes divided by local child services (Jugendamt).[5] The number of Euro-orphans in the EU is estimated to be between 0.5-1 million, more Euro-orphans live outside the EU, e.g. in Ukraine.[6]

Łukasz Krzyżanowski has coined a similar term, "old euro-orphans", describing elderly parents left behind by migrants.[7]


  • "Euroorphans – the children left behind" - documentary by Sven Bergman
  • "I am Kuba" - documentary by Åse Svenheim Drivenes


  • Anne White, Polish Families and Migration Since EU Accession, 2017 [8]

See also


  1. ^ Romania, the EU orphans
  2. ^ White Orphans, the enlargement's children
  3. ^ Nowak, M; Gaweda, A; Janas-Kozik, M (2012). "[The Euro-orphans phenomenon and the courses in therapeutic work and psychiatric treatment--a case study]". Psychiatr Pol. 46: 295–304. PMID 23214399.
  4. ^ Family reunification
  5. ^ "A child has to be German and right now!". Archived from the original on 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
  6. ^ Facts about Euro orphans
  7. ^ Old “Euro-orphans”? Migration of Adult Children and Social Security of their Elderly Parents
  8. ^ Polish families and migration since EU accession

External links

Left-behind children in China

The left-behind children in China (simplified Chinese: 留守儿童; traditional Chinese: 留守兒童; pinyin: liúshǒu'értóng) refer to children who remain in rural regions of China while their parents leave to work in urban areas. In many cases, these children are taken care of by relatives, usually by grandparents or family friends, who remain in the rural regions. These children are often categorized as left-behind given that the rural regions they reside in often lack social and economic infrastructures that are more readily available and accessible in urban areas.Many of these children face developmental and emotional challenges as a result of the limited interaction with their biological parents. As of 2017, there are approximately 69 million children left behind in their rural hometowns. The lack of infrastructure and parental support have led to a host of additional challenges for left-behind children like quality education, physical well-being, and healthy social relationships.Owing to the country's hukou (household registration) system, Chinese left-behind children are confronted with issues regarding public school enrollment. As problems concerning education have multiplied, some cities have implemented a school enrollment point system, which hampers chances of migrant and left-behind children to acquire the learning they need. Combined with China's “point system for household registration,” a host of complications for migrant parents and left-behind children have been created.


An orphan (from the Greek: ορφανός, translit. orphanós) is someone whose parents have died, are unknown, or have permanently abandoned them.In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents due to death is called an orphan. When referring to animals, only the mother's condition is usually relevant (i.e. if the female parent has gone, the offspring is an orphan, regardless of the father's condition).

Social orphan

Social orphan is a term in various foreign languages, such as Ukrainian, denoting that a child has no adults looking after it, even though one or more parents are still alive. Usually the parents are alcoholics, drug abusers, or simply are not interested in the child. It is therefore not the same as an orphan, who has no living parents.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child has brought many countries to reassess their mandate to care for children inside their borders thus bringing to light various new ways of thinking about international child care.

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