In Tunisia, several studies analyzed the phenomenon of migration. One strand of this literature focused on the causes, explaining migration flows (Mzali 1997, Zohry 2006, Fourati 2006, Hammouda 2008, Mghari 2007, Sadiqi 2007, Hamdouch and Khachani 2004). Another open debate concerns the importance of remittances and the role of international migration on the development of the country of origin (Haffad 2006, Hamdouch and Khachani 2004). However, there are few works interested in the family left behind. The paucity of studies on this theme can be explained by a lack of suitable data. Therefore, there is a pressing need to raise research interests on this question.

The goal of this presentation is to contribute to this literature. We try to analyze the situation of children left behind: “a child lives with one of his parents, while the other parent lives abroad”. Our paper will be structured around two broad themes. The first concerns the link between migrants and their families remaining in their country of origin. The second theme focuses on the education attendance of the children left behind. We will try to examine the effects of a mother’s or father’s absence on the school attendance of their children.

Our methodology is based on comparative analyses between male and female and between children of migrants and those of non-migrants. We developed a descriptive analysis using individual data from census 2004 and from the MIREM survey conducted in 2006 by the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.


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