Negotiating Migration: The Experiences of Haitian Youth and Their Families

Jessica Heckert, Pennsylvania State University

Despite the high prevalence of youth migration, both in Haiti and worldwide, little is known about how migration decisions unfold. Whereas imbalanced opportunities motivate migration, a more threatening urban environment, including a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010, has transformed both the opportunities and risks that youth from southeast Haiti encounter in their primary destinations. I draw on two data sources: 1) the nationally representative 2009 Haiti Youth Survey and 2) the Haitian Youth Transitions Study, a prospective mixed-methods study of youth when they have a high propensity to migrate. Preliminary findings reveal a long and expensive time horizon for youth migration investments. Additionally, multi-level models that compare recent primary school graduate to their older siblings reveal that families are making more conservative migration decisions. Continued analyses will refine these findings and test what characteristics predict youth migration.

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Presented in Poster Session 8