Working paper 40(2015)

A comparative study on fertility among
the descendants of immigrants in Europe

By Hill Kulu, Tina Hannemann, Ariane Pailhé, Karel Neels, Leen Rahnu, Allan Puur, Sandra Krapf, Amparo González-Ferrer, Teresa Castro-Martin, Elisabeth Kraus, Laura Bernardi, Andrés Guarin, Gunnar Andersson, Lotta Persson

Abstract: This study investigates the childbearing patterns of the descendants of immigrants in selected European countries, with a focus on ethnic minority women whose parents arrived in Europe from high-fertility countries. While the fertility levels of immigrants to Europe have been examined in the recent literature, the childbearing patterns among their descendants have received little attention. Using longitudinal data from eight European countries and applying Poisson regression models, the study shows that many descendants of immigrants exhibit first-birth levels that are similar to the ‘native’ population in their respective countries; however, first-birth levels are elevated among women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin in the UK and for those of Turkish descent in France and Belgium. Transition rates to a second child vary less across ethnic groups. Most ethnic minority women in the UK, France and Belgium show significantly higher third-birth levels than ‘natives’ in those countries. The inclusion of women’s level of education in the analysis has little effect on fertility differences across the ethnic groups. Overall, the childbearing behaviour of the descendants of immigrants falls in between the fertility pathways experienced by their parents’ generation and the respective ‘native’ populations. The analysis supports the idea that both the mainstream society and the minority subculture shape the childbearing patterns of the descendants of immigrants in Europe.

Posted August 11 2015 – Read more