Point of Reference: A Multisited Exploration of African Migration and Fertility in France

Julia A. Behrman*, Abigail Weitzman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A considerable literature explores whether the fertility of migrants from high-fertility contexts converges with that of women in lower fertility destinations. Nonetheless, much of this research compares migrants’ reproductive outcomes to those of native-born women in destination countries. Drawing on research emphasizing the importance of transnational perspectives, we standardize and integrate data collected in France (the destination) and in six high-fertility African countries (the senders). We show that African migrants in our sample had higher children ever born (CEB) than native French women but lower CEB than women in corresponding origin countries. These findings suggest that socialization into pronatalist norms is an incomplete explanation for migrant fertility in the first generation, an insight that is overlooked when analyzing destination settings only. Next, we conduct multivariate analyses that weight migrants’ background characteristics to resemble women in both origin and destination countries. Findings indicate that observed differences between African migrants in France and women in African origin countries help explain differences in CEB between the two groups, which supports selection. We also demonstrate that African migrants in France had delayed transitions into first, second, and third births and lower completed fertility compared to women in origin countries, thus disputing the disruption hypothesis. Finally, we show that observed differences between African migrants in France and native French women explain differences in CEB between the two groups, which supports adaptation. These multifaceted findings on selection, disruption, and adaptation would be obscured by analyzing destination settings only, thus validating a multisited approach to migrant fertility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Migration Review
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Africa
  • family
  • fertility
  • France
  • migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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