Volume 36 - Article 39 | Pages 1149–1184

Depressed fertility among descendants of immigrants in Sweden

By Gunnar Andersson, Lotta Persson, Ognjen Obućina

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Date received:28 Oct 2015
Date published:11 Apr 2017
Word count:6124
Keywords:descendants of immigrants, fertility, immigration, Sweden
Weblink:You will find all publications in this Special Collection on “Childbearing among the Descendants of Immigrants in Europe” here.


Background: Previous research shows evidence of an interrelation between family formation and the migration of immigrants in Europe. Less research has been conducted on the fertility and family behavior of the descendants of immigrants.

Objective: Our study provides analyses of the childbearing behavior of daughters of immigrants in Sweden. The context is that of a country with near-replacement-level fertility and social policies oriented towards social equality.

Methods: The study is based on register data covering 1998-2012, which allows for highly detailed analyses of the childbearing behavior of 20 country origin groups of second-generation women. By means of event history techniques, we analyze the transition to any first, second, and third births.

Results: Our analyses show that most groups of descendants of immigrants have lower fertility than those with a full Swedish background. The risk of having a first child is particularly depressed, and the risk of having a second child is also lower for daughters of immigrants than for women with two Swedish-born parents. In contrast, many groups of immigrant-descendant two-child mothers display elevated third-birth risks.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate the necessity to account for parity-specific differences in fertility when studying the fertility of descendants of migrants.

Contribution: Our study is based on data large enough to allow for a disaggregated analysis by birth order and parental country background. It shows that, on average, the fertility of women in the so-called second generation in Sweden is lower than that of women with a full Swedish background.

Author's Affiliation

Gunnar Andersson - Stockholms Universitet, Sweden [Email]
Lotta Persson - Statistiska centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden), Sweden [Email]
Ognjen Obućina - Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), France [Email]

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