Men’s Migration and Women’s Fertility in Rural Mozambique

Victor Agadjanian, Arizona State University
Boaventura Cau, Arizona State University

Labor migration, a massive and growing phenomenon across sub-Saharan Africa, plays a particularly important role in the reconfiguration of rural marriages and transformation of fertility regimes. As the macroeconomic restructuring underway in most sub-Saharan countries makes material returns to migration less stable and predictable, uncertainties surrounding migrants’ marital unions also increase. These uncertainties, further exacerbated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, fosters reassessments of childbearing preferences and changes in reproductive behavior. In this study, we use data from a 2006 survey of 1680 married women living in 56 villages in southern Mozambique to compare fertility and reproductive preferences of non-migrant rural women married to migrants and those married to non-migrants. We further break down the former group based on objective and subjective measures of migrant “quality.” The statistical analysis is complemented by insights from in-depth interviews carried out with a subsample of survey respondents.

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Presented in Session 162: Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa