Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 587-607

First online:

Migration, Household Configurations, and the Well-Being of Adolescent Orphans in Rwanda

  • Kevin J. A. ThomasAffiliated withPopulation Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University Email author 

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This study uses data from the 2002 Rwandan census to situate the discourse on migration and orphan well-being within the context of the household. According to its findings, migrant orphans are less likely than non-migrant orphans to live in households with less favorable structural characteristics such as single-parent households. Significant differences are also found in the implied gains to living standards and schooling associated with migration among paternal, maternal, and double-orphans. However, the higher living standards and schooling attainment of orphan migrants relative to their non-migrant counterparts disappear within child-headed household contexts. More generally, the results indicate that the higher living standards of migrant orphans are in part driven by the fact that they mostly live in households with migrant household-heads or migrant spouses. Yet the analysis also suggests that orphans living within these contexts experience higher levels of intra-household discrimination in investments in their schooling, relative to their orphan counterparts who live in non-migrant households.


Orphans Poverty Children Schooling Wellbeing