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Resilience and Well-Being Among Children of Migrant Parents in South-East Asia


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  • The authors would like to thank all members of the CHAMPSEA research team for their contributions to the project, including colleagues at the National University of Singapore, Scalabrini Migration Center (Philippines), Center for Population and Policy Studies, Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia), Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University (Thailand), and Asia-Pacific Economic Center (Vietnam). A special thank you is due to the respondents in our study countries, both adults and children, whose willing participation made this study possible. The authors are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers who provided helpful guidance, and to the Wellcome Trust, U.K. which provided funding for this project (GR079946/B/06/Z and GR079946/Z/06Z).

concerning this article should be addressed to Lucy P. Jordan, University of Southampton, Division of Social Work Studies, Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty and Policy, United Kingdom. Electronic mail may be sent to l.p.jordan@soton.ac.uk.


There has been little systematic empirical research on the well-being of children in transnational households in South-East Asia—a major sending region for contract migrants. This study uses survey data collected in 2008 from children aged 9, 10, and 11 and their caregivers in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam (= 1,498). Results indicate that while children of migrant parents, especially migrant mothers, are less likely to be happy compared to children in nonmigrant households, greater resilience in child well-being is associated to longer durations of maternal absence. There is no evidence for a direct parental migration effect on school enjoyment and performance. The analyses highlight the sensitivity of results to the dimension of child well-being measured and who makes the assessment.