Sibling position, gender, and family networks in Mexican and Senegalese migration

Mao‐Mei Liu, Fernando Riosmena, Mathew J. Creighton - Population, Space and Place


This paper examines the gendered roles of sibling position and network‐derived social capital in Mexican and Senegalese international migration. We investigate how men's and women's migration decisions are associated with their position within the nuclear family before and after accounting for nuclear family migrant networks. Crucially, we also estimate how sibling network “effects” are gendered. We analyse 2 comparable household surveys in very distinct settings where family obligations may vary: the Mexican Migration Project (1998–2012) and the Migration between Africa and Europe–Senegal project (2008). Using discrete‐time event history analysis, we find that—without controls for nuclear family migrant networks—younger siblings in Mexico appear more likely to migrate than their older counterparts, whereas the opposite is true in Senegal. After we control for family migrant networks, however, older siblings in both countries and of both sexes are more likely to migrate. Despite these commonalities, migrant sibling networks appear to be gendered differently in the 2 countries. Although Mexican men are most influenced by migrant brother networks and Mexican women are most influenced by sister networks, evidence for Senegal is mixed and destination‐dependent. Brother networks motivate Senegalese men's and women's migration to Europe, whereas nearly all sibling networks, regardless of gender, influence Senegalese migration within Africa.


This article is part of the Special Issue of Population, Space and Place on Transnational Families