Rural-urban migration and child mortality in Zambia: Effects of migrant selectivity, contraceptive use and birth spacing




Munkombwe, Brian

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Most of the studies that focus on rural-urban migration in sub-Saharan Africa are concerned with the selectivity, determinants and consequences of these movements. Few studies focus on the effects of migration on the mortality or health of infants and children. The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of rural-urban migration on the relative risk of under-five mortality in Zambia. This is important for Zambia because the country has continued to face high levels under-five mortality rates, coupled with huge rural-urban disparities that are hindering the achievement of the fourth Millennium Development Goal by 2015. Hence this study provides an understanding of how mothers who move from the rural to the urban areas influence the child survival chances of their children. This is important to understand ways into which programs can be made that can help accelerate the reduction of these high mortality rates in Zambia. The study utilizes the three perspectives of migration: selectivity, disruption and adaptation to frame the hypotheses and guide the research. Results show that births to rural-urban migrants have a reduced risk of having an inter-birth interval of less than 24 months compared to those of rural non-migrants. The results also show a child survival advantage for births of both rural-urban migrants and urban-residents, relative to those of rural non-migrants. This suggests a child survival advantage for rural-urban migrants compared to the rural non-migrants.


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Birth Spacing, Contracptive use, Migration, Mortality, Survival, Zambia