This project aims to understand the well-being of children in migrant families in rapidly urbanizing China. In particular, we study how two different family arrangements among migrants -- bringing children with them to cities vs. leaving children behind in villages -- and consequently different physical, familial and economic environments on children's well-being. Utilizing a recent survey on migrants in 12 Chinese cities, we measure children's well-being in different dimensions (physical health, academic achievement, and social development), and analyze how factors at individual, household, school and community level affect children's well- being. In addition to family arrangement, we are especially interested in the role of housing condition, parental absence, gender, and economic improvement in children's well-being, and how these factors affect "migrant children" in cities and "left-behind children" in villages differently. This project shifts the existing research focus in migration fro economic strategies of migrants to the well-being of their children. Combining literature on migration and child development, adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, and utilizing statistical tools such as instrumental variables, this project aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of migration in general and migrants'family arrangements in particular on children's wellbeing.
This project studies the impact of family arrangements among migrants on their children's physical health, educational achievement, and social development in China. We specifically focus on health-related outcomes, such as the overall physical health and presence of problematic behaviors in school, and we use health-related causal factors, such as children's birth weight, and whether the mother was healthy when she was pregnant. The massive number of children in migrant families in China makes their wellbeing a public health concern.