Unpacking the Relationship between Parental Migration and Child well-Being: Evidence from Moldova and Georgia

F. Gassmann, M. Siegel, M. Vanore, J. Waidler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Using household survey data collected between September 2011 and December 2012 from Moldova and Georgia, this paper measures and compares the multidimensional well-being of children with and without parents abroad. While a growing body of literature has addressed the effects of migration for children ‘left behind’, relatively few studies have empirically analysed if and to what extent migration implies different well-being outcomes for children, and fewer still have conducted comparisons across countries. To compare the outcomes of children in current- and non-migrant households, this paper defines a multidimensional well-being index comprised of six dimensions of wellness: education, physical health, housing conditions, protection, communication access, and emotional health. This paper challenges conventional wisdom that parental migration is harmful for child well-being: while in Moldova migration does not appear to correspond to any positive or negative well-being outcomes, in Georgia migration was linked to higher probabilities of children attaining well-being in the domains of communication access, housing, and combined well-being index. The different relationship between migration and child well-being in Moldova and Georgia likely reflects different migration trajectories, mobility patterns, and levels of maturity of each migration stream.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-440
Number of pages18
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

JEL classifications

  • o15 - "Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration"
  • i32 - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty


  • Children
  • Georgia
  • Migration
  • Moldova
  • Multi-dimensional poverty

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