Split families: how teens perceive life changes with parents working overseas

Lindy Williams, Cornell University
Joy Arguillas, University of the Philippines

Much has been written about the effects of split families on the well-being of children, particularly when the reason for the split is divorce, and particularly in western contexts. In this research we investigate the extent to which family structure influences children’s educational outcomes, employment decisions, and emotional well-being among migrant and non-migrant families in the Philippines. We analyze data collected in two waves of in-depth interviews. In the first wave (2008-2009), we interviewed 40 high-school aged children in order to compare the experiences of those from households in which one or both parents were overseas with households that have remained intact in the Philippines. The second wave of data was collected in March – July 2013, and captured half of the same children interviewed five years earlier. In this analysis, we seek to understand the impact parents’ overseas migration has had upon the lives of children who remain behind in the Philippines. We plan to focus on gender differences in our analysis: how girls who remain in the Philippines may describe their circumstances differently from boys (or whether differences in articulation are quite minor), and how the impact of absent mothers varies from that of absent fathers. Finally, we will assess the extent to which those who were not interviewed in the second wave may have been different in particular ways at time 1 from those who took part in both sets of interviews, and we will acknowledge any potential sample selectivity we identify.

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Presented in Session 41: Work-family dynamics among immigrant populations