Internal migration, marital dissolution, and health in China 1989-2011: a longitudinal analysis

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Tan, Xiayun
Bhargava, Alok
Rapid economic growth and urbanization in China have been accompanied by increases in levels of internal migration, marital dissolution, and hypertension. Using longitudinal data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, which covers more than 19,000 individuals from 1989 to 2011, this dissertation modeled the inter-relationships among internal migration, divorce, and adult health. First, random effects probit models showed that a longer migration period was associated with increased risk of divorce. Men had a rigid son-preference; having sons was associated more stable marriages for men but less so for women. The implementation of the 2001 Amendment to the Marriage Law increased marital dissolution in both urban and rural areas. Second, dynamic random effects models revealed that men self-reported better health statuses the longer their migration period was. Spousal absence as a result of internal migration drastically lowered the self-reported health status of both men and women. Divorce lowered self-reported health status for both men and women although such impact was not found to be statistically significant. Third, dynamic models for systolic and diastolic blood pressures showed significantly higher hypertension risks for women the longer time they migrated. Divorce was found to have no significant impact on women’s blood pressure but it improved men’s systolic blood pressure. Fourth, higher Body Mass Index (BMI) was found to significantly increase both men and women’s blood pressure. Men’s hypertension risk significantly increased with higher alcohol consumption, while women’s hypertension risk was significantly associated with smoking. Finally, implications of the findings for public policy and future research were discussed.