Residential Mobility, Fertility and Pregnancy Outcomes: Evidence from the Household and Welfare Study of Accra

Slawa Rokicki, Harvard University
Guenther Fink, Harvard School of Public Health

Internal migration and urban mobility have risen rapidly in most developing countries over the past decade. The changes in the social and physical environment induced by residential movements constitute a major disruption to the livelihood of young women and their families. We use data from 1386 female urban migrants collected as part of the Housing and Welfare Study of Accra (HAWS) to assess the degree to which mobility affects fertility and pregnancy outcomes in Accra, Ghana. Using panel models with individual fixed effects to control for differences in preferences and other unobservable characteristics we show that the exposure to new living environments is associated with an increase in the odds of pregnancy of 12 percent (95% CI (1.002 - 1.245). This increased risk of pregnancy is however not associated with higher odds of giving birth, suggesting that most additional births are not planned or desired and thus result in abortion.

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Presented in Poster Session 6