Does International Migration Lead to Divorce? Ghanaian Couples in Ghana and Abroad

By Kim Caarls, Valentina Mazzucato

This article examines the effects of international migration on the probability of divorce among Ghanaian couples in 2009. Couples that experienced joint migration, and those where the husband and/or the wife migrated alone are compared with couples with no migration experience. The relationship between migration and divorce is contextualized with anthropological insights into marital relationships in Ghana. Ghanaian data from the Migrations between Africa and Europe (MAFE) research programme, containing retrospective information on married couples, are analysed. Discrete-time event history analysis shows that migrant couples have higher divorce rates than non-migrant couples, but only when the wife migrated, either independently or jointly. Couples who spend longer periods apart are also more likely to divorce, especially when it is the husband who migrates.


  • couple
  • divorce
  • international migration
  • gender roles
  • event history analysis
  • Ghana
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