Rural-to-Urban Migration and Changes in Health Status among Young Adults in Thailand: Distinguishing Selection Effects from Migration Effects Using a Longitudinal Framework

Elizabeth Nauman, Tulane University
Umaporn Pattaravanich, Mahidol University
Sureeporn Punpuing, Mahidol University
Mark VanLandingham, Tulane University

We examine the impact of rural-to-urban migration on the physical and mental health of young adults in Thailand using a longitudinal research design, measuring health status before and after migration. The sample comprises young adults who were enumerated in a household-based census of select rural villages in Kanchanaburi province in 2005. Those who subsequently moved to urban areas were followed-up at destination in 2007. Those who were re-interviewed in rural Kanchanaburi during the 2007 census constitute a natural comparison group of (non-migrating) rural residents. We assess a priori differences in health status between migrants and their rural counterparts to determine the effects of such differences on the decision to migrate, i.e., selection effects. We also compare changes over time in health status between migrants and non-migrants to assess the impact of migration on health. Our results clearly illustrate the merits of using longitudinal frameworks in migration research.

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Presented in Session 97: Internal Migration in LDCs