Moldovan Study Illustrates Regional Migration
More than 40 per cent of emigrants left children behind.
Migration – largely for work purposes - has increased dramatically in recent years within the region. Precise migration figures in many countries are not easy to find. The Demographic and Health Survey, 2005, (DHS) undertaken in Moldova provides a useful national case study into some of the social costs of migration, especially for the children left behind. Seventeen per cent of households reported a former member to have moved abroad. In almost half these households, at least one child was left behind (42 per cent). A qualitative study in Moldova found that, while parents' departure has a positive impact on children's material conditions, it may negatively affect their emotional development, social relations, and their school performance.
It comes as no surprise to learn that remittances from outside the country have become important for many Moldovan households. The total official estimate of the gross inflows of worker’s remittances was about 27 per cent of the gross domestic product. Work was the main reason for moving abroad for the majority of emigrants (83 per cent female and 91 per cent male emigrants).
More than half these Moldovan emigrants (57 per cent) recorded by the DHS departed between the beginning of 2001 and mid-2005, when the survey was carried out.
Despite the financial benefits of emigration, there is a social cost for Moldova. Forty three per cent and 32 per cent of the emigrants between the ages of 20 and 29 were, respectively, from rural and urban areas. This survey showed that 42 per cent of emigrants left at least one child behind. Although these children may be benefiting financially from remittances, they are likely to be lacking adequate parental support and the care needed in their early years.
About 20 per cent of children that were left behind by emigrants are under the age of 5 with higher percentages in rural areas – the significant period for early learning and childhood development. Around 25 per cent of children are in the age group of 5-9 years – the age which corresponds to pre-primary and primary schooling. About one third of children are 10 to 14 years-old - the age group that corresponds to lower secondary school period. One quarter or more are aged 15 and above – the age that corresponds to the period of higher secondary level of education and beyond.
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