Generations and Gender in the Fertility of Immigrants and their Descendants: A Register-Based Study of Sweden
Immigrants and their descendants increasingly shape fertility patterns in many European contexts. While childbearing among immigrants is well explored, less is known about fertility patterns of the descendants of immigrants. Using Swedish register data, we studied differences in parity-specific fertility between immigrants and their descendants in Sweden and compared them with patterns of the native-born population. The analyses were done with life-course data for women as well as for men. We distinguished between individuals with a background in high- and low-fertility contexts, and whether the descendants of immigrants were offspring from endogamous or exogamous country-background relationships. For most migrants, we found elevated first birth rates shortly after arrival. First birth rates among the second generation were generally very close to - but lower - than the rates observed among native Swedes. Fertility among offspring from exogamous relationships tended to be closer to that of native Swedes than what was the case for offspring from relationships in which both parents were migrants. Second birth rates were very similar across all population subgroups but were generally lower among immigrants and their descendants than for native Swedes. Third birth rates were somewhat polarized into patterns of high- and low-fertility behavior. Overall, we found that fertility patterns among the second generation are clearly drifting away from the patterns observed among immigrants. Especially individuals with one immigrant and one Swedish-born parent exhibited fertility behavior which was very similar to those with two Swedish-born parents, suggesting that fertility differences between migrants and natives tend to vanish in one to two generations.