CitationDavis, Jason & Brazil, Noli (2016). Migration, Remittances and Nutrition Outcomes of Left-Behind Children: A National-Level Quantitative Assessment of Guatemala. PLOS ONE, 11(3), e0152089. PMCID: PMC4803329
AbstractHistorically, Guatemalans have suffered high rates of poverty and malnutrition while nearly ten percent of their population resides abroad. Many Guatemalan parents use economic migration, mainly international migration to the United States, as a means to improve the human capital prospects of their children. However, as this investigation shows, the timing of migration events in relation to left-behind children's ages has important, often negative and likely permanent, repercussions on the physical development of their children. To illustrate these dynamics, this investigation uses an instrumental variables framework to disentangle the countervailing effects of Guatemalan fathers' absences due to migration from concomitant remittances on left-behind children's growth outcomes. Based on national-level data collected in 2000, the investigation reveals that the international migration of a father in the previous year is correlated with a 22.1% lower length/height-for-age z-score for the average left-behind child aged = 3. In contrast, the receipt of remittance income has no influence on the physical stature of a child, which may indicate that migrant fathers with young children are not able to achieve economic success soon enough during their ventures abroad to fully ameliorate the harmful effects caused by their absences.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitlePLOS ONE