Parental Migration and Education of Left-Behind Children: A Comparison of Two Settings

Lu, Yao

The out-migration of parents has become a common childhood experience worldwide. It can confer both economic benefits and social costs on children. Despite a growing literature, the circumstances under which children benefit or suffer from parental out-migration are not well understood. The present study examined how the relationship between parental out-migration and children's education varies across migration streams (internal vs. international) and across 2 societies. Data are from the Mexican Family Life Survey (N = 5,719) and the Indonesian Family Life Survey (N = 2,938). The results showed that children left behind by international migrant parents are worse off in educational attainment than those living with both parents. Internal migration of parents plays a negative role in some cases, though often to a lesser degree than international migration. In addition, how the overall relationship between parental migration and education balances out varies by context: It is negative in Mexico but generally small in Indonesia.


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Journal of Marriage and Family

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Social Work
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October 23, 2015