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Household responses to poverty

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UNICEF IRC conducts research on the situation of children affected by migration, the social and economic causes of impact and implications for children, families and other communities. Guided by the best interests of the child, IRC research considers the factors that may enhance or compromise the enjoyment of children’s rights in the context of migration. Complementing other initiatives by UNICEF, IRC’s research focuses particularly on independent migrant children and migrant children with their families in countries of settlement.

Completed and ongoing research


Children in immigrant families in eight industrialized countries
The study focuses on immigrant children living with their families in eight industrialized countries: Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Many children in immigrant families in industrialized countries experience substantial social exclusion, raising needs for better policies and programmes to foster their social integration. Effective action is hampered by children’s low visibility and limited information regarding their circumstances. For each country, the national teams will produce a statistical profile literature review on children in immigrant families. The statistics will utilize national census, survey or registration data, and will be comparable across countries. Drawing on the country studies, a comparative report is being developed that synthesizes the research results and discusses policy implications.

The project was coordinated by Donald J. Hernandez (University of Albany, USA) and Social and Economic Policies Unit, UNICEF IRC.

Country team leaders are:
Independent Child Migrants in Developing Countries
Children who have migrated and live away from their parents or legal/customary adult guardians are often termed as 'independent child migrants'. This research explores their situations in developing countries and examines the social and economic significance of their migration. In seeking livelihoods and other rewards from migration independent child migrants adopt many adult responsibilities. Available data suggest that many of these children are young. Although often carrying adult responsibilities, they are children in many of their individual attributes, legal rights and status.

IRC's research on independent child migration includes literature reviews focusing on four areas: qualitative research approaches towards children who live independently; children’s labour migration; and children’s independent migration and development. Research on the use of census data for analysing children’s migration in three developing countries (Argentina, Chile, and South Africa) was also conducted.

Contact us on migration issues


UNICEF IRC conducts research on the situation of children affected by migration, the social and economic causes of impact and implications for children, families and other communities. Guided by the best interests of the child, IRC research considers the factors that may enhance or compromise the enjoyment of children’s rights in the context of migration. Complementing other initiatives by UNICEF, IRC’s research focuses particularly on independent migrant children and migrant children with their families in countries of settlement.

Completed and ongoing research


Children in immigrant families in eight industrialized countries
The study focuses on immigrant children living with their families in eight industrialized countries: Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Many children in immigrant families in industrialized countries experience substantial social exclusion, raising needs for better policies and programmes to foster their social integration. Effective action is hampered by children’s low visibility and limited information regarding their circumstances. For each country, the national teams will produce a statistical profile literature review on children in immigrant families. The statistics will utilize national census, survey or registration data, and will be comparable across countries. Drawing on the country studies, a comparative report is being developed that synthesizes the research results and discusses policy implications.

The project was coordinated by Donald J. Hernandez (University of Albany, USA) and Social and Economic Policies Unit, UNICEF IRC.

Country team leaders are:
  • Australia: Ilan Katz and Gerry Redmond (University of New South Wales)
  • France: Patrick Simon (Institut national d’ études démographiques), Thomas Kirszbaum (Recherches et études sur les politiques socio-urbaines) and Yaël Brinbaum (École normale supérieure)
  • Germany: Bernhard Nauck and Susanne Clauss (Technische Universität Chemnitz)
  • Italy: Letizia Mencarini (Università degli Studi di Torino) and Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna (Università degli Studi di Padova)
  • Netherlands: Helga de Valk (Het Nederlands Interdisciplinair Demografisch Instituut)
  • Switzerland: Philippe Wanner (Université de Genève) and Rosita Fibbi (Université de Neuchâtel)
  • United Kingdom: Heaven Crawley (Swansea University)
  • United States: Donald J. Hernandez (University at Albany, State University of New York)
Independent Child Migrants in Developing Countries
Children who have migrated and live away from their parents or legal/customary adult guardians are often termed as 'independent child migrants'. This research explores their situations in developing countries and examines the social and economic significance of their migration. In seeking livelihoods and other rewards from migration independent child migrants adopt many adult responsibilities. Available data suggest that many of these children are young. Although often carrying adult responsibilities, they are children in many of their individual attributes, legal rights and status.

IRC's research on independent child migration includes literature reviews focusing on four areas: qualitative research approaches towards children who live independently; children’s labour migration; and children’s independent migration and development. Research on the use of census data for analysing children’s migration in three developing countries (Argentina, Chile, and South Africa) was also conducted.

Contact us on migration issues

LATEST PUBLICATIONS

During recent decades most affluent countries have experienced large increases in the number and diversity of immigrants, and accordingly it is anticipated that children in immigrant families will play an increasing role in these societies. However, while their social, economic and civic integration is of critical policy relevance, there is little statistical evidence available on this segment of the population. The study helps to fill the knowledge gap by presenting internationally comparable statistics on children in immigrant families in eight affluent countries - Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Special Series on Children in Immigrant Families in Affluent Societies

Public debate on immigration tends to be polarized in Switzerland around issues relating to admission policy. However, many children in well-settled immigrant families also appear to experience social exclusion. This needs to be addressed by policies and programmes aimed at fostering social integration.

AUTHOR(S)

Rosita Fibbi; Philippe Wanner
Special Series on Children in Immigrant Families in Affluent Societies

Of the total population of the Netherlands about 19 per cent are foreign born or are born in the Netherlands with at least one parent born abroad. Almost 800,000 children (22.3 per cent of all children) are in immigrant families. Over 15 per cent of these children are foreign born. The rest have been born in the Netherlands each to at least one foreign-born parent. The Antilles and Aruba, Germany, Morocco, Suriname and Turkey are the major countries of origin.

AUTHOR(S)

Helga A. G. De Valk; Kris R. Noam; Alinda M. Bosch; Gijs C. N. Beets
Special Series on the Situation of Children in Immigrant Families in Affluent Societies

In 2005, 4.9 million immigrants were residing in metropolitan France. This was 8.1 per cent of the population. Children of immigrants represent close to one fifth of all children. Children with at least one parent from Algeria, Morocco, or Tunisia make up almost 40 per cent of these children, and children of sub-Saharan African origin make up one eighth. Of the 3.5 million foreigners living in France in 2004, 450,000 were children aged 0-17 whose parents were foreign born.

AUTHOR(S)

Thomas Kirszbaum; Yael Brinbaum; Patrick Simon

CONTRIBUTOR(S)

Esin Gezer
Special Series on the Situation of Children in Immigrant Families in Affluent Societies

There were about 1.5 million children 0 to 17 years of age in immigrant families in Australia in 2001. This represented almost 33 per cent of all children. More than a quarter of these children were in families from the most consistent countries of immigrant origin, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Another 17 per cent were in families from other parts of Europe, while 10 per cent were in families from New Zealand, and 3 per cent were in families from other countries in Oceania.

AUTHOR(S)

Gerry Redmond; Ilan Katz
Special Series on the Situation of Children in Immigrant Families in Affluent Societies

Germany may be described as a country of immigrants. Resident foreign citizens alone number around 6.7 million. The share of children who are living with parents who are recent immigrants is quite large. More than 1 million children 0–17 years of age are foreign citizens. Counting German citizens, there are nearly 6 million children of migrant origin under the age of 25. Of all persons of migrant origin, nearly 30 per cent are in the 0–20 age group.

AUTHOR(S)

Susanne Clauss; Bernhard Nauck
Special Series on Children in Immigrant Families in Affluent Societies

According to 2001 census data more than 900,000 children aged 0-17, 10 per cent of all children in Italy, were born abroad or had at least one parent who was born abroad. One or both of the parents of about 500,000 children in immigrant families were born in less developed countries. Children now account for almost 23 per cent of the foreign population. In this report, we have analysed household composition and well-being of children in immigrant families with 2001 Italian census data and 2006 survey data. Inclusion and other social issues are reviewed through the most recent literature.

AUTHOR(S)

Giampiero Dalla Zuanna; Emiliana Baldoni; Letizia Mencarini
Special Series on Children in Immigrant Families in Affluent Societies

The foreign-born population in the United Kingdom reached 4.9 million in 2001, representing 8.3 per cent of the total population. Around 2.1 million children (16.3 per cent of all children) were in immigrant families. A fifth of these children were foreign born. The remainder were born in the United Kingdom of at least one foreign-born parent. More than 40 per cent were in families from Asia, around 20 per cent in families from Africa and around 20 per cent in families from other countries in Europe. Bangladesh, Jamaica, India and Pakistan are some of the main countries of origin.

AUTHOR(S)

Heaven Crawley
This paper identifies and evaluates qualitative methods appropriate for use in conducting policy-relevant research on the experiences, motivations, agency and life histories of autonomous and semi-autonomous children and adolescents, including those who migrate independently of parents and adult guardians.

AUTHOR(S)

Stuart C. Aitken; Thomas Herman
This paper focuses on independent migrant children, defined as below 18 years old, who choose to move from home and live at destinations without a parent or adult guardian. It summarises quantitative and qualitative research, and uses this to reflect on research agendas and global debates towards linking migration and development.

AUTHOR(S)

Shahin Yaqub
The paper defines child migrants as under 18 year olds whose usual residence was in a different country or province five years prior to census. The author estimates the scale of child migration, compares the relative magnitudes of internal and international migration, and considers sensitivity to alternative definitions of migration.

AUTHOR(S)

Shahin Yaqub
Like adults, children migrate across borders for different reasons and in varying circumstances; and they face legal consequences as a result of their migration. Two of these consequences are common to all child migrants and have far-reaching implications: the child migrants become non-citizens or aliens once they cross a border, and they face a new social environment once they leave home. The existing legal framework does not directly address either of these consequences. There is no single piece of international or regional legislation that systematically and comprehensively addresses the issue. As a result the body of relevant legislation, though quite extensive and diverse, has an impact on child migrants which is inconsistent and incomplete.

AUTHOR(S)

Jacqueline Bhabha
This paper considers three groups of children affected by international migration: (i) children left behind by international labour migrants from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand; (ii) children of Thai nationals in Japan; and (iii) children brought along by irregular migrants in Malaysia and Thailand. Based on the limited data available from published sources, the paper constructs preliminary estimates of numbers of children involved. It then synthesizes available evidence on problems and opportunities faced by the children, and on policies towards them.

AUTHOR(S)

John Bryant
Innocenti Social Monitor 2004 reviews recent socio-economic trends in the 27 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. It examines child poverty in an integrating world from four different perspectives: Economic Growth and Child Poverty; Economic Integration, Labour Markets and Children; Migration Trends and Policy Implications; Young People and Drugs: Increasing Health Risks.

The seventh Innocenti Global Seminar, held in Florence in October 1996, brought together participants with a wide range of experiences and perspectives to discuss discrimination against ethnic minorities, immigrants and indigenous peoples. The Report emphasizes participation, education and empowerment and calls for systematic attention to be paid to minority populations in all situation analyses.

AUTHOR(S)

Maggie Black
Following the Second World War and particularly after the 1960s, many Western European countries experienced positive immigration. Migrations to each specific country differed in origin and were influenced by the historical ties between the sending and receiving countries, particularly in the case of migrations from ex-colonies. However, international economic conditions and political situations also caused similar migration trends across countries, in particular the "contract work" migrations of the 1960s and the new waves of immigrants from developing countries of the 1970s and 1980s.

AUTHOR(S)

Cristina S. Blanc; Paolo Chiozzi
MORE PUBLICATIONS

Project team

David Parker


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Development Research Centre on Migration


Conferences & Meetings

Migration and children