Fertility behaviour of migrants and nonmigrants from a couple perspective: the case of Senegalese in Europe

Elisabeth K. Kraus, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Amparo Gonzalez-Ferrer, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between migration and fertility. Thereby, we have a special look on migrant selection processes by comparing Senegalese migrants to Europe with the Senegalese staying back home in Africa. Particularly, we are interested in the following research questions: What are the differences between migrants and nonmigrants in terms of fertility timing and quantum? Is differential fertility behavior of migrants and stayers the result of migrant selection processes on socio-economic or on unobservable characteristics? In order to answer these questions, our theoretical framework builds on some of the major hypotheses that have been developed to explain the effect of migration on fertility and vice versa: disruption, interrelation of events and selection. For the empirical analysis of this paper we use data collected in the framework of the MAFE-Senegal (“Migrations between Africa and Europe”) project. This project collected longitudinal retrospective life-history data in origin and destination countries. Using couples as the unit of analysis (2,500 partnerships) we compute Kaplan-Meier estimates and discrete-time hazard models to analyze the timing of the first and of higher-order births. First results indicate that there are no big differences for the first birth between Senegalese migrants in Europe and nonmigrants in Senegal: both groups follow very similar dynamics. But for higher-order births, migrants do have a much lower risk to experience these events. This might indicate that Senegalese migrants in Europe are a very selected group, not only in terms of socioeconomic characteristics, but also with differential fertility patterns.

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Presented in Session 88: Comparative perspectives on migration and fertility