Experiences of migration, parent–child interaction, and the life satisfaction of children in Ghana and China

Qiaobing Wu, Victor Cebotari

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This study is a pioneer effort to comparatively examine how the life satisfaction of children is influenced by their experiences of migration and by their interactions with parents in two geographical contexts: Ghana and China. It also provides evidence of how these relationships differ across gender groups in the two countries. This study uses survey data collected in 2010 and 2013 from school children and youths aged 11–20 in Ghana (N = 1,622) and China (N = 2,171), respectively. Results indicate that children (a) who previously migrated but returned and currently live with both parents and (b) who currently stay behind and have no previous migration experience are generally less likely to be satisfied with life. On the other hand, greater resilience in the outcome is associated with emotional support from parents. Also, there is suggestive evidence that Chinese girls are more vulnerable to the effects of parental migration and of being, at one point of life, migrant themselves. This evidence is not replicated among Chinese boys. In Ghana, girls of migrant parents without a personal migration experience and boys in non-migrant families who returned from abroad show some degree of vulnerability when assessing their life satisfaction. These findings add nuance to a field of research that has yet to conceptualise the complexity of children's experiences with migration and the way this complexity associates with child well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2160
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • children
  • China
  • Ghana
  • life satisfaction
  • migration
  • parent–child interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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