The Effects of Migration and Family Structures on Transitions to Adulthood in Urban Kenya

Shelley Clark, McGill University
Cassandra Cotton, McGill University

Adolescent migration is closely linked with key transitions to adulthood in sub-Saharan Africa. While migration to an urban area offers adolescents many new opportunities, it also coincides with new challenges and considerable disruption of family support. Drawing on detailed life history data from young men and women in Kisumu, Kenya, we use piecewise exponential survival analysis to examine how migration is related to key transitions to adulthood and how variation in family support moderates these relationships. We find that migration is associated with a sharp decline in parental support. For both men and women, migration also frequently coincides with a permanent exodus from school, which cannot be fully explained by changes in family support or transitions into marriage or work. Given their lower levels of parental support and earlier transitions to adult roles, adolescent migrants may experience heighten economic and social vulnerability.

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Presented in Session 115: Transition to Adulthood in the Developing World