This article is a review of the PhD thesis of Mark Collinson, titled, ‘Striving against adversity: the dynamics of migration, health and poverty in rural South Africa’. The findings show that in rural South Africa, temporary migration has a major impact on household well-being and health. Remittances from migrants make a significant difference to socioeconomic status (SES) in households left behind by the migrant. For the poorest households the key factors improving SES are government grants and female temporary migration, while for the less poor it is male temporary migration and local employment. Migration is associated with HIV but not in straightforward ways. Migrants that return more frequently may be less exposed to outside partners and therefore less implicated in the HIV epidemic. There are links between migration and mortality patterns, including a higher risk of dying for returnee migrants compared with permanent residents. A mother's migration impacts significantly on child survival for South African and former refugee parents, but there is an additional mortality risk for children of Mozambican former refugees. It is recommended that national censuses and surveys account for temporary migration when collecting information on household membership, because different migration types have different outcomes. Without discriminating between different migration types, the implications for sending and receiving communities will remain lost to policy-makers
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