The social and economic impact of international female labour migration on left-behind children in East Java, Indonesia

Henny Rosalinda, Sasee Pallikadavath, Keppi Sukesi, Faishal Aminuddin, Amie Kamanda, Kieron Hatton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Context: An estimated 80% of individuals migrating officially outside of Indonesia to work are women. International female labour migration leads to the temporary separation of mothers from their children. Previous research showed that the separation led to the reduced wellbeing of the child, as being a homogeneous group. This paper explores the impact of this separation on both young children as well as adolescents; the impact is conceptualised to significantly vary across these physically and emotionally growing sub-groups.

Data and methods: The study was carried out in two villages in Malang and Ponorogo Regencies in East Java. A census (178 households in two villages) was followed by in-depth interviews (71) with left-behind family members, including adolescents. Descriptive analysis was applied to the household dataset and thematic analysis was used to triangulate the views of the household members.

Results and conclusions: Both young children and adolescents benefited from migration: while young children mainly benefited from better quality education, health care, consumption; older children had greater access to pocket money, and extracurricular activities. Some mothers migrated after childbirth, leaving their children in the care of their husbands or grandmothers for a longer duration. Such children reported feeling a sense of loneliness and neglect leading to emotional separation from their mothers. Adolescent girls reported difficulties in managing their physical changes without mother, leading to stress and discomfort. A contribution of this study is identifying the challenges faced by adolescent girls as they started puberty in the absence of their mothers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Publication statusUnpublished - 27 Apr 2017
EventPopulation Association of America 2017 Annual Meeting - Chicago, United States
Duration: 27 Apr 201729 Apr 2017


ConferencePopulation Association of America 2017 Annual Meeting
Abbreviated titlePAA2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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