The health of child migrants in South Africa

Elizabeth A. Gummerson, Princeton University

This paper uses a new nationally representative dataset from South Africa (NIDS) to examine the impact of internal migration on children's health. The paper finds that children who migrate internally have worse health outcomes than similar non-migrant children. The findings are robust to controls for household and parental socioeconomic factors, child and parent demographics, and rural versus urban migration. Further, the paper shows that prior to migration, migrant children have no health disadvantages in terms of birthweight, head circumference, attended births or hospital births when compared with non-migrant children. This suggests that within the south-south migration context, the process of migration may somehow compromise child health.

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Presented in Session 28: Consequences of migration and residential mobility at individual and societal level