Volume 43 - Article 20 | Pages 545–580

Fathers' migration and nutritional status of children in India: Do the effects vary by community context?

By Lei Lei, Sonalde Desai, Feinian Chen

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:07 Oct 2019
Date published:25 Aug 2020
Word count:6924
Keywords:children left behind, community context, India, left-behind children, migration, nutritional status, parental absence
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2020.43.20
 

Abstract

Background: Due to international and internal migration, millions of children in developing countries are geographically separated from one or both of their parents. Prior research has not reached a consensus on the impacts of parental out-migration on children's growth, and little is known about how community contexts modify the impact of parental out-migration.

Objective: We aim to assess the overall impacts of fathers' previous and current migration experiences on children's nutritional status in India and how the impacts are shaped by community socioeconomic contexts and community gender norms.

Methods: Using data from the Indian Human Development Survey collected in 2011–2012, we estimated community fixed-effect regression models predicting the nutritional status of children (ages 10–15) and examined interactions among fathers' migration, children's gender, and community contexts.

Results: The results showed that children of returned migrants had lower height and body mass index (BMI) than children of nonmigrants. A father's current absence was associated with lower height and BMI for adolescents in communities with high levels of socioeconomic development but not for those in communities with low levels of development. A father's current absence due to migration was especially detrimental to girls in communities with strict norms of female seclusion.

Contribution: Our findings highlight that the effects of father's out-migration on children are conditioned by the level of communities' socioeconomic development and community gender contexts, which helps to reconcile the previously mixed findings on the effects of parental migration on child outcomes.

Author's Affiliation

Lei Lei - Rutgers University, United States of America [Email]
Sonalde Desai - University of Maryland, United States of America [Email]
Feinian Chen - University of Maryland, United States of America [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Indian paradox: Rising education, declining womens' employment
Volume 38 - Article 31

» Functional limitation trajectories and their determinants among women in the Philippines
Volume 36 - Article 30

» Racial and ethnic differences in leaving and returning to the parental home: The role of life course transitions, socioeconomic resources, and family connectivity
Volume 34 - Article 4

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Not a zero-sum game: Migration and child well-being in contemporary China
Volume 38 - Article 26    | Keywords: children left behind, migration

» The effect of spousal separation and reunification on fertility: Chinese internal and international migration
Volume 43 - Article 29    | Keywords: migration

» The long-run effects of poverty alleviation resettlement on child development: Evidence from a quasi-experiment in China
Volume 43 - Article 10    | Keywords: migration

» The lasting impact of parental migration on children's education and health outcomes: The case of China
Volume 43 - Article 9    | Keywords: left-behind children

» Gender preferences and fertility: Investigating the case of Turkish immigrants in Germany
Volume 43 - Article 3    | Keywords: migration