The Convergence of Quantum Fertility for U.K. Immigrants

Ben Wilson, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Previous research has attempted to test migrant fertility convergence, but has failed to define this concept in detail, or develop an agreed methodology. This may explain why the literature on convergence remains fragmented, with a confusing array of competing hypotheses and explanations. After reviewing alternative definitions of convergence, this paper compares convergence (towards native fertility levels) within and between migrant generations. Unlike much previous research, completed fertility is used, which allows particular hypotheses to be isolated, and avoids the results being confounded due to birth timing differentials. Completed fertility is estimated using recently released data from the UK, and the analysis uses regression models for count data. The results show evidence of convergence both between and within generations, suggesting fertility adaptation for first and second generation women. However, although analysis of male fertility reinforces this conclusion, there is evidence of cultural entrenchment, particularly for second generation migrants with Indian heritage.

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Presented in Session 43: Migration and Reproductive Behavior