Volume 26 - Article 4 | Pages 99–130  

The fertility of immigrants after arrival: The Italian case

By Eleonora Mussino, Salvatore Strozza

Abstract

Background: Previous studies show that migration and fertility may be strongly connected and that the migration history and duration of stay should be included in the analysis of reproductive behavior of foreign women.

Objective: This study investigates the risk of having a first child in Italy for Albanian, Moroccan, and Romanian women, currently the three largest groups of immigrants to Italy.

Methods: By implementing record linkage procedures, we were able to use a longitudinal approach on Italian cross-sectional administrative data on births and international migration. Following the 2003 cohort of immigrants, we estimated the hazard ratio of having a first birth in Italy in the period 2003-2006 using the piecewise-exponential model.

Results: Strong differences by citizenship in the fertility pattern remain even when we control for migratory and demographic factors. At the same time, there is a clear pattern in the timing of motherhood for the different types of migration.

Conclusions: Different citizenships also have different timings of reproduction when the migratory model is taken into account. The high risk for family reasons in the short period is obviously related to the hypothesis of interrelated events, whereas women who come for work reasons need more time to adjust and to decide to have children in the host country.

Comments: This study in line with the international literature confirms that, besides the strong arrival effect for the new immigration cohorts on the risk of having a birth in Italy, there is a strong interrelation between the migration and family behavior.

Author's Affiliation

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