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Childbearing Patterns of Foreign Women in a New Immigration Country: The Case of Spain

AuthorsRoig Vila, Marta; Castro Martín, Teresa
Issue Date2007
CitationPopulation English edition 62 (3): 351-380
AbstractSpain, a country of emigration during centuries, has become a country of immigration in the last twenty years: the foreign population increased from 0.9% in 1991 to 8.5% in 2005. Since Spain also has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, the potential impact of immigration on the demographic future of the country is large. Yet immigrants’ fertility patterns have received relatively little attention. This study compares a series of reproductive indicators for Spanish and foreign women using birth microdata and presents an analysis of recent fertility by region of origin based on the 2001 Census. The results show that observed fertility gaps between Spanish and foreign women are largely explained by differential socio-demographic characteristics, in particular, by age and education. Since some of the hypothesized effects of migration on fertility are contingent on length of residence in the host country, the study also compares fertility levels across migrant cohorts and detects patterns consistent with both the adaptation and the disruption hypotheses.
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