Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Irma T. Elo


This dissertation addresses multiple topics of current population processes, including an impact evaluation of malaria control on child mortality in Tanzania, a study of living arrangements among the foreign-born in the United States, and an investigation of selectivity and the choice of migration destination among African emigrants. The dissertation follows a three-chapter format. The chapters are related to one another by their common focus on policy relevant topics for the health and wellbeing of populations. The first chapter investigates the specific contribution of malaria control to improvements in the health of children under five in mainland Tanzania by exploiting the timing of scale-up malaria interventions along with the variation in malaria endemicity across the country due to ecology. The analyses are based on birth history and socioeconomic information from the 2004-2005 and 2009-2010 waves of the Tanzanian Demographic and Health Survey and epidemiological information on malaria prevalence from the National Malaria Control Program. The results suggest that, on average, malaria control interventions have helped avert approximately 17.9 deaths for every 1,000 live births between 2004 and 2010. They also point to significant improvements in children's nutritional health attributable to malaria control.

The second chapter examines living arrangements among the foreign-born in the United States by including all major sending regions of immigrants; by distinguishing between horizontal and vertical extension (coresidence within and across generations); and by accounting for the uneven geographic distribution of immigrants across the country. Drawing on data from the five percent sample of the 2001-2013 waves of the American Community Survey, the chapter shows not only large differentials in the prevalence of extension across immigrant groups, but also substantial variation in the type and predictors of extension, and the extent to which these differences with native whites are explained by socio-demographic composition and housing conditions. Overall, traditional theories of extension do a better job of explaining horizontal than vertical extension, and among relatively disadvantaged immigrant groups (i.e., Mexicans, Latin Americans (excluding Mexicans) and West Indians) than more positively selected groups (i.e., South East Asians, Canadians/Europeans, and Oceanians). African immigrants often fall in between these two extremes. The chapter also shows that accounting for immigrant concentration in more expensive housing markets explains an important share of the immigrant-native gap in extension, suggesting that previous analyses exaggerated the role of culture in explaining variation in living arrangements.

The third chapter is concerned with emigrant selectivity and the factors that shape the choice of migration destinations. Using data from the 2009 Ghana survey of the Migration from Africa to Europe (MAFE) project and data from nationally representative surveys in the United Kingdom and the United States, this chapter investigates these issues among emigrants from Ghana. The results point to positive selection among current emigrants compared to both non-migrants and return migrants. They further show that return migrants tend to have more favorable socioeconomic characteristics than non-migrants. The results also indicate selectivity among emigrants by destination such that those who migrate to a destination further away are more positively selected. However, these results fail to show any effect of wage differentials at destination in explaining the choice of migration destination among emigrants to the United Kingdom and the United States. This chapter offers three contributions to the literature on migrant selectivity. First, it focuses on selectivity among return migrants versus current emigrants and compares emigrants across destinations. Second, it assesses whether socioeconomic characteristics used at either the individual or household level influence migrant selectivity. Finally, it tests empirically two theoretical pathways (neoclassical and network theories) relating migrant characteristics to the choice of migration destinations.