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Socio-Economic Effects of Migration on the Family: Evidence from Zimbabwean and Congolese Families Living in Durban, South Africa

Charity Mawire, Oliver Mtapuri, Tsion Kidane and Koyi Mchunu


Published: 2020/09/01


The migration process, including the decision to migrate, movement, and resettlement in the destination country, poses economic and social challenges for migrant families. This study explores the socioeconomic impact of migration on the family. A qualitative approach was adopted, using thematic analysis on data derived from interviews. The emerging findings show how migration alters family relationships in terms of structure, culture, values, and member roles. These changes may lead to divorce, separation, and abandonment and affect children the most. In some cases, migrant families benefit from employment opportunities and from better health and education services, although they may also face exploitation in employment when they lack proper documentation. Not always do migrants fare better in their new circumstances. To minimize the adverse effects of migration, it is recommended that the host societies, non-governmental partners, and the government work together to provide proper documentation to migrants and promote their integration. In this study, six hypotheses are posited which have a bearing on efforts at mitigating adverse impacts of migration on migrants’ lives such as family disintegration, dysfunction, disruption, and disempowerment.

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