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Explaining declined immigrant fertility

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posted on 04.03.2019 by Marianne Tönnessen
Abstract: In many Western countries, the total fertility rate (TFR) of immigrant women has declined over the last decades. This report proposes two methods for explaining such changes in the aggregate immigrant fertility level: what-if scenarios and a formal decomposition. Both methods disentangle the effect of changed composition – by origin area and duration of stay – from the effect of changed fertility within subgroups. The methods are applied to data from Norway, where immigrant TFR declined from 2.6 births per women in 2000 to below 2.0 in 2017. The results show that this decline cannot be explained by successful integration, nor by changed composition of immigrant women by origin area or duration of stay. A main reason for the decline is found among newly arrived immigrant women, particularly from Asia. They have a considerably lower fertility now than what the newly arrived had 15-20 years ago. After investigating several possible explanations for the TFR decline among the newly arrived, decreased fertility in origin areas is suggested as a key driver.


The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) via the Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social and Medical Sciences (SIMSAM), grant 340-2013-5164

The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare (FORTE), grant 2018-00310




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