Ethnic Differences in Couples’ Employment and the Transition to Parenthood in Belgium

Layla Van den Berg , University of Antwerp
Jonas Wood, University of Antwerp
Karel Neels, University of Antwerp

In light of the increased female educational and labour force participation and the declining fertility rates observed in many developed countries during the second half of the 20th century, studying family formation and its relation to (female) employment has become an established research tradition. Despite the increasing diversity of most societies, we lack insight in household labour division and its relation to family formation among population subgroups with a migrant background. The differing opportunities and preferences found among couples with a migrant background can be expected to reflect on the relation between household employment and family formation. Using a prospective linkage between the Belgian census data and birth registers we study childless couples with a native Belgian, Southern European, Moroccan and Turkish migration background in 2001 and 2011 to see how their household breadwinner models relate to first births in the subsequent five years. In addition, we study whether breadwinner models of couples with a migrant background and the link to fertility have changed between 2001 and 2011. Descriptive results indicatethat the household division of paid labour of mixed couples has converged more toward native Belgian couples whereas substantial differences remain for ethnically homogamous couples. The analyses further show that the dual breadwinner model is associated with the highest first birth risks among native Belgian couples and Southern European couples but not among couples of Turkish or Moroccan origin where the transition to parenthood is most likely for couples adhering to the male breadwinner model.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 71. Immigrants' Structural Integration I: Labour Market