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Child Returnees' Profiles

Table 3 presents descriptive statistics on the individual and household characteristics of both first- and second-generation returnees who are under 18 years old. These characteristics are compared to those of children without international migration experiences to gain insights into some general characteristics of the dissimilar groups. To better understand the significance of the differences between groups, a significance test (t-test) was conducted comparing non-migrant children to returnees, including both first- and second-generation; data is shown in the fourth column of Table 3. Significance tests comparing first-generation returnees to second-generation returnees are shown in the fifth column of the table.

The statistics on individual characteristics show, first, that the ages of the children differ significantly across groups. First-generation returnees are significantly older than their peers, both non-migrants and s econd-generation returnees. This is most likely because of the definitions of a first-generation return migrant used in relation to the timing of conflict in Burundi. A first-generation return migrant had fled during conflict, resided abroad for at least three months, and returned to Burundi. The latest major conflict episode in Burundi took place in 1993, which means that first-generation returnees are more likely to be older. The age difference between non-returnees and second-generation returnees is small.

Table 3 Profiling child returnees and their households

Nonreturnees

First-

generation

returnees

Second-

generation

returnees

t-test

comparing non-returnees vs. returnees

t-test

comparing first- vs. second- generation returnees

Individual characteristics

Age

10.46

14.57

9.62

-1.65*

-9.73***

Gender (1 = male)

0.49

0.40

0.48

0.87

0.85

Passport holding (1 = yes)

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.27

0.00

Burundian citizenship, either first or second (1 = yes)

1.00

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.00

Household characteristics

Household

size

7.01

7.11

7.34

-1.59

0.71

Number of adults in household

2.67

2.94

2.45

0.99

-3.17***

Number of children in household

4.35

4.17

4.90

-2.58***

2.93***

Single headed household (1 = yes)

0.17

0.19

0.14

0.55

-0.82

Female headed household (1 = yes)

0.17

0.19

0.13

0.68

-0.96

Note: *p < 0.10, **p < 0.05, ***p < 0.01

Second, first-generation returnees are more likely to be female than children in the other groups, although the differences are not statistically significant. This gender difference may be because of several reasons. First, males were more targeted during the conflicts in Burundi. A previous study showed, for example, that males were more likely to be killed during the 1993 Burundi conflict (Bundervoet 2009). Because first-generation returnees are more likely to have been affected by conflict than non-migrants (who did not flee internationally because of violence) or second-generation returnees (who were born abroad), males are probably less prevalent in the first-generation group. Second, males who resided abroad, particularly in Tanzania, may have been affected by the recruitment or targeting of rebel groups who operated in Western Tanzania (see International Crisis Group 1999 for a detailed analysis).

Third, no differences exist between groups in terms of citizenship or passport holding. All children in the sample had Burundian citizenship, regardless of their migration history. Of the 128 second-generation returnees, 23 children (18 %) also had Tanzanian citizenship and 2 children (2 %) had Congolese citizenship. None of the children residing in rural areas had a passport at the time of the data collection.

Some of the household characteristics of children differ significantly among the three different groups. Second-generation returnees tend to live in slightly bigger households, but the difference in household size between the groups is not significant. Second-generation returnees probably live in relatively bigger households because they are a younger group and their households are therefore younger (with more children). This potential reason is confirmed by the descriptive statistics on the number of children and adults in the household.

Second-generation returnees tend to live in households that have fewer adults and more children compared to first-generation returnees and non-migrant children. First- or second-generation children are not significantly more likely to reside in single-headed or female-headed households. First-generation return children, however, do score slightly higher on these indicators than their peers, which is most likely because of their experiences of conflict and the targeting of males during conflict as previously described.

 
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