Migration and the Transition to Adulthood in Contemporary Malawi

Kathleen Beegle, World Bank Group
Michelle Poulin, University of North Texas

The timing of key life events -- including school-leaving, first marriage, and entry into the labor market -- are critical with respect to a young person’s well-being over the life course. Because migration more often occurs in young adulthood than among the population of older adults, these life events are strongly influenced by migration. Using panel data collected in the Marriage Transitions in Malawi (MTM) project, we investigate the relationship between household characteristics, major life-cycle decisions, and migration among young adults in contemporary Malawi. Our research questions are twofold. First, what are the socio-economic and demographic determinants of migration, and how are these conditioned by gender? Second, how does school attendance, first marriage, and employment-seeking relate to migration patterns? We take advantage of panel data collected from a survey designed specifically to explore socioeconomic and demographic aspects of youth transitions to adulthood, which enable us to examine pre-migration household characteristics.

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Presented in Session 64: Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries