The Impact of Migration on Health in a Developing Setting

Yao Lu, University of California, Los Angeles

Previous studies on the effect of migration on health are inconclusive due to the failure to adjust for selection of migrants (especially with respect to health), and to distinguish different dimensions of health and various pathways. To remedy these gaps, we study the effect of the internal migration experience on health using high-quality longitudinal data collected in Indonesia. We treat migration and health as dynamic processes by modeling changes in migrants’ health prior to and after migration and contrasting it with nonmigrants. We further reveal underlying mechanisms generating the overall migration effect by examining changes in socioeconomic and behavioral factors associated with migration. Preliminary results suggest a detrimental impact of migration on health, in particular short-term health status. Pathway analysis demonstrates several possible explanations, including disruptions in sociocultural practices and loss of family ties.

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Presented in Session 161: Migration and Health in Developing Countries