The Depth of Ties in Africa: Remittances across Migrant Generations in Urban Kenya

Gayatri Singh, Brown University

This paper poses two questions regarding remittance behavior in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. First, what are the levels and determinants of remittances to the origin family? Second, do these measures differ by migrant generation? Past research assumes that remitting is a first-generation phenomenon. We draw on the assimilation and transnationalism literatures to formulate predictions regarding levels and determinants of remittances across three migrant generations. Using survey data from 2,400 urban males in Kisumu, Western Kenya, we find that the likelihood of remitting to the origin family and level of support provided decline with each successive generation. In addition, we find that the strategies behind maintaining these ongoing ties to the origin differ across generations. While first- and 1.5-generation migrants remit to the rural family primarily out of economic concerns, second-generation migrants behave more altruistically.

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Presented in Session 97: Internal Migration in LDCs