Left-behind Villages, Left-behind Children: Migration and Cognitive Achievement of Rural Children in China

Wubin Xie , The George Washington University
John Sandberg, The George Washington University
Cheng Huang, The George Washington University
Elanah Uretsky, Brandeis University

Although the potential effects of migration on cognitive development of children in origin communities reflect both household- and community-level processes, few studies have examined how community-level migration affects child cognitive development. Applying multilevel methods to a nationally representative data of 2248 children from 427 villages in China, we examine whether village migration intensity influence child cognitive ability, and if so, what accounts for them. Findings suggest lower cognitive achievement in communities experiencing high migration intensity. Children living in high migration intensity are expected to have a 1.33 and 1.54 unit lower verbal and math scores, which is equivalent of 0.62 and 0.87 year of formal education respectively. A possible explanation for this effect is the change in demographic composition that communities are depleted with better educated adults.

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 Presented in Session 240. Migration and Educational Outcomes