Black migrants represent a small but growing share of recent migration flows from foreign countries to the United States. Among black migrants, Sub-Saharan Africans are an important and rapidly growing share of the total foreign-born US black population. Yet, we know relatively little about their health and well-being in the United States and even less about their families and communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The goal of this pilot project is to lay the foundation for a grant application to the National Institute of Aging to better understand the impact of migration from Africa on the health and wellbeing of the migrants as well as their families in the United States and Africa. The research will provide important evidence on the impact of migration to the United States on family members left behind in Africa, many of whom are elderly and rely on remittances from those who have left. The research will be conducted in the United States and Ghana.
Specifically, the project will:
1. Conduct analyses of Ghanaian and US Census data to identify a research design to efficiently sample migrants from Ghana to the U.S. in a longitudinal design;
2. Test field protocols for sampling of those individuals and their families living in the U.S. and in Ghana and following those who move across the border; and
3. Develop and test survey instruments and biomarker measurement protocols for a study of health and well-being of migrants in the United States, their family and community members in Ghana in comparison with a those who do not migrate.
Sampling, tracing and interviewing migrants and their families across international borders is far from straightforward. It is, however, critically important for providing scientific evidence of the impact of migration at the population level. This pilot will rigorously evaluate different sampling and recruitment strategies to assure the success of the application for a large-scale study to be submitted to the NIA and elsewhere.
We have selected Ghana for this project because, first, among Sub-Saharan Africans, Ghanaians represent the third largest group in the U.S. and, second, we have begun building a collaborative team with first-rate population and health scientists at several different institutes in the University of Ghana. The longer-term goal is to build a collaborative network of comparable research activities on international migration in several African countries.