Volume 36 - Article 45 | Pages 1361–1398  

The convergence of second-generation immigrants' fertility patterns in France: The role of sociocultural distance between parents' and host country

By Ariane Pailhé

This article is part of the Special Collection 23 "Childbearing among the Descendants of Immigrants in Europe"

Abstract

Background: The fertility of immigrants’ descendants is an important topic for demographers, since it affects the structure of the future population. However, little attention has been devoted to the fertility behaviour of the second generation in Europe.

Objective: This study analyses the degree to which fertility of the descendants of immigrants is similar to that of French natives. It evaluates the extent to which the observed differences arise from the sociocultural distance between parents’ country and host country and from structural determinants.

Methods: We analyse the transition to first, second, and third births among different groups of immigrants’ daughters (from the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, and Southeast Asia), and compare them to native-born women using discrete-time logistic regressions. The data is drawn from the Trajectories and Origins Survey (2008), which oversamples immigrants and their descendants.

Results: We show a convergence towards French standards that differs across groups of origin. Women of Southeast Asian descent deviate from the fertility pattern of their parents, while those of Turkish descent preserve their parents’ cultural heritage. These different paths of adaptation between groups partly reflect cultural distance between parents’ country and host country. They also depend on family social capital, family structure, and family values. Access to a higher level of education is a crucial factor in erasing differences between groups.

Conclusions: The fertility behaviour of most groups of descendants of immigrants is converging towards that of French natives. Cultural factors have much less influence on childbearing patterns than on union formation.

Contribution: This paper extends the literature on the patterns and determinants of descendants of immigrants’ fertility in France. It shows that they significantly differ by birth order.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Co-ethnic marriage versus intermarriage among immigrants and their descendants: A comparison across seven European countries using event-history analysis
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Partnership dynamics across generations of immigration in France: Structural vs. cultural factors
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Economic Uncertainty and Family Dynamics in Europe: Introduction
Volume 27 - Article 28

The influence of employment uncertainty on childbearing in France: A tempo or quantum effect?
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Volume 17 - Article 14

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