Volume 40 - Article 46 | Pages 1345–1374  

A decade of life-course research on fertility of immigrants and their descendants in Europe

By Hill Kulu, Nadja Milewski, Tina Hannemann, Júlia Mikolai

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


Objective: This article provides an introduction to a special collection on childbearing among the descendants of immigrants in Europe. We first review recent life-course research on fertility of immigrants and their descendants followed by a summary of the papers of this special collection. Finally, we discuss their contribution and future research avenues.

Results: The papers of this special collection report significant heterogeneity in childbearing patterns among descendants of immigrants. Some groups have fertility levels similar to those of natives, some have lower fertility, and some exhibit significantly higher fertility. Further, polarisation characterises many descendant groups; some individuals have small families or even remain childless, whereas others have large families.

Conclusions: We conclude that factors related to mainstream society, minority subculture, and minority status all shape fertility behaviour of the descendants of immigrants and that their impact varies across descendant groups. Future research should investigate whether the observed heterogeneity in childbearing patterns is likely to decline over generations or the diversity is here to stay.

Contribution: This article provides an introduction to a special collection on childbearing among the descendants of immigrants in Europe.

Author's Affiliation

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