Journal Article

Identities in onward migration: young people of Colombian descent in London

Published 31 May 2023 / By Domiziana Turcatti

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This article explores the identity formation of onward migrant youths – namely, individuals aged 13–28 who were born and/or raised in their parents’ first destination country and then migrated to other countries, either together with their parents or on their own. Drawing from interviews with youths of Colombian descent who onward migrated from Spain to London, this article shows that onward migrant youths’ identifications are shaped by their trajectories prior to onward migrating and their formative experiences in the previous country of residence. Following onward migration, young people find themselves in a new relational environment which may offer opportunities to claim identities they had limited access to in the previous country of residence and which are deployed strategically to gain belonging, to express longing for left-behind families and friends, and to highlight the challenges they face in the onward destination. Some youths may develop new identities drawing from diverse frames and scales of reference in the onward destination provided they feel accepted and can access opportunities. Ultimately, this article contributes to the understanding of onward migrant youths as a highly heterogeneous group while challenging conventional categories to classify migrant children and youths.


Turcatti, D. (2023). Identities in onward migration: Young people of Colombian descent in London, Children's Geographies, DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2023.2217408