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Exploring Child Mortality Risks Associated with Diverse Patterns of Maternal Migration in Haiti
Authors: Emily Smith-Greenaway, and Kevin J. A. Thomas
Source: Population Research and Policy Review, 33(6): 873–895
Topic(s): Childhood mortality
Migration
Country: Latin American/Caribbean
  Haiti
Published: DEC 2014
Abstract: Internal migration is a salient dimension of adulthood in Haiti, particularly among women. Despite the high prevalence of migration in Haiti, it remains unknown whether Haitian women’s diverse patterns of migration influence their children’s health and survival. In this paper, we introduce the concept of lateral (i.e., rural-to-rural, urban-to-urban) versus nonlateral (i.e., rural-to-urban, urban-to-rural) migration to describe how some patterns of mothers’ internal migration may be associated with particularly high mortality among children. We use the 2006 Haitian Demographic and Health Survey to estimate a series of discrete-time hazard models among 7,409 rural children and 3,864 urban children. We find that compared with their peers with nonmigrant mothers, children born to lateral migrants generally experience lower mortality, whereas those born to nonlateral migrants generally experience higher mortality. Although there are important distinctions across Haiti’s rural and urban contexts, these associations remain net of socioeconomic factors, suggesting they are not entirely attributable to migrant selection. Considering the timing of maternal migration uncovers even more variation in the child health implications of maternal migration; however, the results counter the standard disruption and adaptation perspective. Although future work is needed to identify the processes underlying the differential risk of child mortality across lateral versus nonlateral migrants, the study demonstrates that looking beyond rural-to-urban migration and considering the timing of maternal migration can provide a fuller, more complex understanding of migration’s association with child health. Keywords Maternal migration Child mortality Haiti