Migration seminar: The Effects of Transnational Child Raising Arrangements on the Wellbeing of Ghanaian Migrant Parents in The Netherlands

Dr. Bilisuma Dito, FASOS, Maastricht University

Many Ghanaian parents in The Netherlands have transnational families with one or more of their
children living in Ghana thereby engaging in transnational child raising arrangements.
This study examines whether and how this arrangement affects the wellbeing of Ghanaian parents
in The Netherlands. While previous literature on the wellbeing of migrants mainly focuses on
factors pertaining to their lives in the receiving country, this study takes a transnational perspective
and hypothesizes that migrant parents’ wellbeing could also be affected by factors related to their
transnational families.
Using survey data on 300 Ghanaian migrant parents, the study investigates the effect on three
wellbeing indicators: self-reported health status, satisfaction with life, and mental health.
The results from ordinary least squares models suggest that Ghanaian migrant parents who are
separated from their children have worse health status, are less satisfied with their lives, and have
lower mental health compared to the parents who live with their children. But it is found that this
effect is mainly due to the associated lower socioeconomic and undocumented status they have
rather than the separation itself. The result reveals that poverty and being undocumented, which
are found to be the main characteristics of parents separated from their children, have negative
effects on the wellbeing of Ghanaian migrant parents in The Netherlands. This result departs from
the findings of previous studies that documented the negative effects of family separation on the
migrant parents’ wellbeing based on data from Asia and Latin America.

About the speaker
Bilisuma Dito is a Development Economist from Ethiopia. She obtained her Ph.D from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University in December 2011. Before joining ISS, she was a lecturer at the School of Economics in Addis Ababa University. She is currently living in the Netherlands and working as a post doctoral researcher at Maastricht University. Her research interests are on the link between migration and development and also on issues of intra-household resource allocation behavior and its implications on individual’s welfare within a household.

Venue: Conference Room, UNU-MERIT building

Date: 20 June 2012

Time: 12:00 - 13:00  CET