The subjective wellbeing of African transnational parents in Europe

Studies on the transnational family highlight the emotional difficulties of migrant parents separated from their children through international migration. This article consists of a large-scale quantitative investigation into the insights of transnational family literature by examining the well-being of transnational parents compared with that of parents who live with their children in the destination country. Furthermore, through a survey of Angolan migrant parents in both the Netherlands and Portugal, we compare the contexts of two receiving countries. Our study shows transnational parents are worse off than their non-transnational counterparts in terms of four measures of well-being – health, life satisfaction, happiness, and emotional well-being. Although studies on migrant well-being tend to focus exclusively on the characteristics of the receiving countries, our findings suggest that, to understand migrant parents’ well-being, a transnational perspective should also consider the existence of children in the migrant sending country. Finally, comparing the same population in two countries revealed that the receiving country affects the way in which transnational parenting is associated with migrant well-being.