Moving towards a better future for your children? The impact of maternal migration on child nutrition in Tanzania

Research on the impact of internal migration has focused on (monetary) outcomes for the migrants themselves. Yet, migrant parents may be able to not only improve their own welfare, but also enhance the well-being of their children. As such, population movements could affect current living standards as well as the intergenerational transmission of poverty and rural transformation. The crucially important question of how parental migration affects children, however, remains largely unanswered with existing studies based upon cross-sectional designs that do not allow us to disentangle the impact of migration from selection. Using panel data tracking migrants between 1991 and 2010, this paper studies how maternal migration affects child nutrition. We restrict the comparison to children of mothers originating from the same family, effectively addressing concerns that heterogeneity across migrant and non-migrant families may distort the results. We find evidence of a growth advantage for children of mothers who moved out of their villages in Kagera. Maternal migration is associated with improved weight-for-age and lower rates of underweight. Moreover, children of rural-urban migrant mothers have higher height-for-age z-scores and lower stunting rates. These findings therefore suggest that by relocating, mothers were able to improve their children s long-term food security and health. Acknowledgement :

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JEL Codes:
I31; D12

 Record created 2018-10-02, last modified 2020-10-28

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