Volume 32 - Article 53 | Pages 1435–1468

Engendering the fertility-migration nexus: The role of women's migratory patterns in the analysis of fertility after migration

By Livia Ortensi

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Date received:15 Aug 2014
Date published:09 Jun 2015
Word count:8224
Keywords:female migration, fertility, international migration, Italy, migrant fertility


Background: Although women currently constitute half of the international migrant population, most theoretical frameworks used in the study of migration are still gender-neutral. Surprisingly, this is also true of the study of migrant fertility. In particular, the main theories regarding migration and fertility do not take into account the impact of the role of women in emigration in the analysis of fertility after migration.

Objective: This paper proposes a conceptualization of women’s migratory patterns and tests the impact of this gendered dimension on fertility after migration. A survey of migrants conducted in Italy will be used as a case study. Based on our results, the role of the migratory pattern will be incorporated into the framework of mainstream hypotheses about migration and fertility.

Methods: The analysis is based on a retrospective cross-sectional survey of about 2,500 women living in Italy in 2010. Censored Poisson regression and event history analysis will be applied in the analysis.

Results: Women’s migratory patterns emerge as a key variable in the timing of the first birth and in the overall number of births after migration. Compared to independent and first migrants, family migrants tend to have a first child more quickly after migration, and they have a higher overall number of children after migration.

Conclusions: The migratory patterns of women represent a key dimension which has not yet been properly included in the study of migrants’ fertility. I propose some hypotheses regarding the incorporation of this topic into the framework of the study of fertility and migration. These hypotheses may be tested in future studies.

Author's Affiliation

Livia Ortensi - Università di Bologna (UNIBO), Italy [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Improving estimates of the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting among migrants in Western countries
Volume 32 - Article 18

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