Father’s Migration and Health of Children Left-behind in Rural Mozambique

Luciana Luz, Arizona State University

This paper examines the effect of parental labor migration on health of children left behind in rural Mozambique. Using data from a household survey conducted in southern Mozambique in 2011, we investigate the association between father’s migration and child’s chronic malnutrition and adequate immunization. We build on the previous literature that treats migration as a cumulative process and argues that the effects of migration vary depending on its stage and duration. We find that the proportion of child’s life spent away by the father is associated with a decrease in the likelihood of a child being stunted, but it is also related with lower chances of receiving adequate immunization. When looking at these associations by gender, we find that both effects are statistically significant only for girls. We interpret these results in light of the social meaning of labor migration and of gender roles and ideology in this sub-Saharan setting.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration and Urbanization; Population, Development and the Environment