Migration and Rural Urbanization: The Diffusion of Urban Behavior to Rural Communities in Guatemala

David P. Lindstrom, Brown University
Adriana Lopez Ramirez, Brown University
Elisa Munoz-Franco, Brown University

This paper examines the influence of migration networks on the adoption of a range of health and marital relationship behaviors by married women in rural Guatemalan communities. Multivariate regression models are used to examine the impact of having kin in urban areas and the U.S. on a rural woman’s: modern contraceptive knowledge and use, use of formal prenatal and delivery care, child immunization, and influence in household decisions. We argue that greater knowledge and use of health services and women’s greater role in household decisions are characteristic of couples living in urban areas and are part of a range of behavioral and attitudinal changes that migrant women diffuse back to rural areas. After examining each of the outcomes individually, we use regression models to estimate the impact of migration networks on a single summary index of urban agency that we construct from the individual measures of health and decision making behavior.

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Presented in Poster Session 7