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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

PGR Student Presentation: Understanding Children’s Migration Experiences in Rural South Africa Seminar

29 September 2011
Building 58 Room 1065 Highfield Campus University of Southampton

Event details

Social Statistics and Demography Seminar Series

Rachel Bennett 'Understanding Children's Migration Experiences in Rural South Africa' Children are engaged in migration in multiple ways: as independent movers, as movers accompanied by adults, and as 'children left behind' when key caregiver(s) migrate.

However existing research has treated migration as an almost exclusively adult phenomenon, and very little is known about the consequences of adult mobility for children or of the migration experiences of children themselves.

In the South African context, adult labour migration has been deeply embedded in the country's social system since the early twentieth century, and continues to be an important livelihood strategy. There is a well-developed system of accessing care from family members beyond birth parents, therefore the possibility of children's migration between households is not uncommon.

The aims of this presentation are to outline the plan of my project, and to present findings on the social and residential connections between migrant parents and their children in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The analysis uses data from a rural demographic surveillance system and linked sample survey of adult migrants, to identify factors associated with types of dispersed family arrangements, and to explore the extent of children's residential stability.

The results indicate that whilst the majority (82.8%) of migrant's children are 'left behind' they are often not stationary or resident in their parent's origin household. The findings contribute to understanding the dynamic and multiple spaces in which children and their parents live.

Speaker information

Rachel Bennett ,University of Southampton

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