IMIAS (International Mobility in Aging Study) is a population-based longitudinal study conducted in five sites: Tirana (Albania), Natal (Brazil), Manizales (Colombia), Kingston (Ontario, Canada) and Saint-Hyacinthe (Quebec, Canada). Tirana is a city of approximately 700,000 habitants, situated in the central valley of Albania. Natal is a city of 800,000 habitants and the capital of the province of Rio Grande do Norte in northeast Brazil. Manizales is a city of 400,000 habitants in the coffeegrowing zone in the Colombian Andes Mountains and capital of the Caldas department. Kingston is a city with 130,000 inhabitants in Ontario and was the first capital of Canada. Saint-Hyacinthe is a city with a population of about 50,000 inhabitants and the economic center of an agricultural region 50 km from Montreal, Quebec.

These cities represent diverse ways of living in very different societies (Tirana is capital of Albania, an ex-communist country of Muslim tradition in rapid transition to capitalism; Kingston, a University city in Ontario and Saint-Hyacinthe, a center of an agricultural region in Quebec; Manizales in the Andean coffee growing region, a relatively wealthy area of Colombia; and Natal, a coastal city and capital of a relatively poor region of North Eastern Brazil) and they represent societies which vary strongly in gender equality.