Urban Migration of Adolescent Girls: Quantitative Evidence from Developing Countries

Mark R. Montgomery, Population Council
Deborah L. Balk, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR)
Zhen Liu, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR)

Substantial percentages of urban adolescent girls are recent in-migrants. Credible estimates range as high as 40 percent in census-based results and almost double that figure in estimates from demographic surveys. The majority of urban in-migrant girls come not from rural villages, but rather from other cities and towns. Migrant urban girls often live in what would appear to be socially isolating circumstances. Most migrant girls are unmarried at the time of their move. After arrival, they are much less likely to reside in households headed by a relative, and they are also less likely to live with a mother, father, or spouse. Where other indicators of material disadvantage are concerned, however, it is far from obvious that these girls fare worse than urban non-migrant girls. The human capital assets with which migrant girls enter the urban labor market are mainly those that they have already acquired before arrival.

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Presented in Session 113: Migration and Gender