Volume 19 - Article 9 | Pages 225–248  

Overview Chapter 7: The rising importance of migrants for childbearing in Europe

By Tomáš Sobotka

This article is part of the Special Collection 7 "Childbearing Trends and Policies in Europe"


This contribution looks at the influence of immigration on childbearing trends in the countries of Western, Northern and Southern Europe, which have received relatively large numbers of immigrants during the last decades. It analyses the contribution of migrants to the total number of births and compares fertility rates of migrant women with the fertility rates of native women, pointing out huge diversity between migrant groups. It also discusses the evidence regarding the progressive ‘assimilation’ in migrants’ fertility to the local fertility patterns and analyses the net impact of migrants on period fertility rates. This review reveals that migrant women typically retain substantially higher levels of period fertility than the ‘native’ populations, but this difference typically diminishes over time and with the duration of their stay in a country. Immigrants contribute substantially to the total number of births and their share of total births has increased in the last decade, exceeding in some countries one fifth of the recorded live births. However, the ‘net effect’ of the higher fertility of migrants on the period total fertility of particular countries remains relatively small, typically between 0.05 and 0.10 in absolute terms.

Author's Affiliation

  • Tomáš Sobotka - Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, OeAW, University of Vienna), Austria EMAIL

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

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Ultra-low fertility in South Korea: The role of the tempo effect
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Czech Republic: A rapid transformation of fertility and family behaviour after the collapse of state socialism
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Austria: Persistent low fertility since the mid-1980s
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Overview Chapter 6: The diverse faces of the Second Demographic Transition in Europe
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Overview Chapter 4: Changing family and partnership behaviour: Common trends and persistent diversity across Europe
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Overview Chapter 1: Fertility in Europe: Diverse, delayed and below replacement
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Summary and general conclusions: Childbearing Trends and Policies in Europe
Volume 19 - Article 2

Tempo-quantum and period-cohort interplay in fertility changes in Europe: Evidence from the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden
Volume 8 - Article 6

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