One important limitation of the growing literature that uses survey data to analyze the well-being and welfare of transnational families is the cross-sectional design of many of the studies. This innovative study applies sequence analysis(SA) to capture the longitudinal trajectories of parental migrant history in Indonesia and the Philippines to: (1) reveal the diversity of young adults’ experiences of parental migration during their childhood; (2) apply SA with parental migration histories to explore temporality of migration trajectories relative the child’s age; (3) conduct cluster analysis to classify family migration trajectories for use in further application.
Data from the Child Health and Migrant Parents in South-East Asia (CHAMPSEA) project were adopted. CHAMPSEA is a mixed-method longitudinal study investigating the benefits and costs of parental migration on children left behind in Southeast Asia (Wave 1 from 2008, Wave 2 from 2016).
This study draws on the migrant history data of the parents of the young adult children (aged 17-19 in 2016 at Wave 2). Migration history of each father and mother was first coded into separate variables, including 1) the destination, 2) the beginning year and month, and 3) the ending year and month of each migration episode. The beginning date of the first episode was set as the date of birth of the index child. The ending date of the last episode was set as the date of interview in Wave 2. The migration histories of the fathers and mothers together form ‘combined sequences’ that represented the migration trajectories of the parents as experienced by the young adult over their lifetime. We further coded the combined episodes in 4 categories: 1) father migrant, mother resident; 2) mother migrant, father resident; 3) both (or only) parents migrant; both (or only) parents resident resulting in 226 Philippine and 331 Indonesian households for analysis. SA was performed to visualize the migrant trajectories of parents. Typology analysis of the migrant trajectories further identified the patterns of the migrant histories.
In both countries, three overall patterns of 1) father long- term migrant, 2) mother long-term migrant and 3) parent/s short-term and returned migrants are observed. The paper explores the implications of different cluster solutions taking into account test statistics as well as practical considerations regarding subsequent analyses of derived variables and sample size power.
Conclusions and Implications:
The present study enriches the understanding of parental migrant experiences in Southeast Asia countries. Beyondthe descriptive purpose revealing the diversity of parental labor migrant during child-rearing years, this study also captured migrant patterns in a data reduction approach. These reduced forms of complex data can help identify the social costs and benefits of growing up in diverse types of transnational households and better inform social policy and practice regarding child and family welfare in developing countries where labor migration acts as a form of social protection in the absence of comprehensive social welfare systems. The study further contributes to methodological debates regarding data driven versus theoretically driven sequence analysis.