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Adolescent urban migration, schooling, and work in sub-Saharan Africa

Sophia Chae, University of Montreal
Jessie Pinchoff, Population Council
Mark R. Montgomery, Population Council

Migration during adolescence, particularly to urban areas, brings with it many opportunities as well as risks. Adolescents engaging in rural-urban migration can gain access to better schooling and economic opportunities, improved health services, and potentially better living conditions. At the same time, some adolescents migrate to urban areas alone, i.e., without parents, and end up in vulnerable situations where they are mistreated and/or exploited. Whether adolescents benefit from urban migration depends largely on their migration experiences and reasons for migration, which often vary by gender. Our study examines adolescent urban migration in 16 sub-Saharan African countries. Using data from the Demographic and Health Surveys, we describe the prevalence and type of migration (urban-urban, rural-urban) and examine whether adolescent migrants experience greater vulnerability and poorer schooling outcomes than non-migrants. Due to the gendered nature of migration, we explore these relationships separately by gender. Preliminary results indicate that migration prevalence is higher among girls and that most migrants originate from other urban areas. Adolescent migrants are also significantly less likely to be living with one or both parents. While migrant girls are less likely to be in school than their non-migrant counterparts, no significant difference is observed among boys.

Keywords: Cross-country comparative analyses, Children and youth, Gender, Urbanization and urban populations

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session P20.