Child development and migrant transnationalism: the health of children who stay behind in Ghana and Nigeria

Valentina Mazzucato, Victor Cebotari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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, spec* 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-459
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017



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