Child Development and Migrant Transnationalism: The Health of Children Who Stay Behind in Ghana and Nigeria

  • 2016•06•06

    Victor Cebotari, Valentina Mazzucato and Melissa Siegel

    This paper examines the relation between parental migration and children’s health in Ghana (N = 2760) and Nigeria (N = 2168) and considers four dimensions of parental migration: the type of separation, parental migration and the caregiver, stability of care arrangements, and the availability of remittances. By employing an ordered scale of children’s self-rated health, we found that children with international migrant parents who are divorced/separated are less likely than children in non-migrant families to have good health. The magnitude of the effects are higher in Nigeria, attesting for a greater vulnerability of Nigerian children in divorced migrant families. Among children with parents living abroad who are stably married, specific dimensions of children’s transnational life are associated with negative health, while others are not. This study highlights the sensitivity of results to the context of parent-child separation and to the transnational dimension being measured.

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