Point of Reference: A Multidimensional Understanding of Fertility and Migration

Julia Behrman , Northwestern University
Abigail Weitzman, University of Michigan

Migration is an important social process with far reaching implications for fertility and family change. As such, considerable literature explores whether the fertility of migrants from high fertility contexts converges to that of women in lower fertility destination contexts. Nonetheless, most research investigating the relationship between international migration and fertility outcomes compares the reproductive outcomes of migrants to those of native-born women in receiving countries. Drawing on literature that takes a transnational perspective, we standardize and integrate data from two different sources—one collected in France (the receiving country in our study)—and one collected in African and Asian countries (the senders). Our analyses illustrate how understandings of migrant fertility assimilation differ depending on whether migrant women are compared to non-migrant women in receiving versus sending countries. We also discuss and analyze the role of selection into migration which provides a fuller understanding of processes surrounding migration and assimilation to fertility and family norms in destination-contexts.

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 Presented in Session 118. Fertility of Migrants