Fertility among descendants of immigrants in Belgium

In a newly published article, ‘Fertility among descendants of immigrants in Belgium: The role of the partner’ in Demographic Research, Lisa Van Landschoot, Helga de Valk and Jan Van Bavel¬†analyzed to what extent second and higher order births of second-generation women of Southern European, Turkish, or Moroccan origin in Belgium differ by the ethnic origin and migration history of the male partner.

Abstract

Background: Research on the fertility behavior of descendants of immigrants has focused on female characteristics and has largely neglected those of the male partner. One key aspect is whether the partner is of same (endogamous) or of different (exogamous) ethnic origin. Moreover, the male partner may be born in the same country as the female partner, or he may have migrated to that country later in the life course. Consequently, both his ethnic origin and migration history may affect the fertility behavior of second-generation women.

Objective: This study analyzes to what extent second and higher order births of second-generation women of Southern European, Turkish, or Moroccan origin in Belgium differ by the ethnic origin and migration history of the male partner.

Methods: We apply event history methods using the 2001 Belgian Census, linked with the 2006 Belgian National Population Register.

Results: Women of Turkish and Moroccan origin in an endogamous union experience higher second and subsequent birth rates than their counterparts in an exogamous union. However, no variation is found within the endogamous unions: Whether or not the endogamous partner has been born in the country of origin does not seem to affect second and higher order birth rates. For women of Southern European origin, second and higher order birth rates do not differ by origin and generation of their partner.

Contribution: This study extends the literature on the fertility behavior of the descendants of immigrants by demonstrating the importance of male partner characteristics in explaining the transition to a second or a higher order birth.-