January 20, 2022 | Press Release

The Relationship between Migration and Family Formation Depends on Class and Gender

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Migrants from Latin American and Caribbean countries do not show one unique pattern of family formation – they depend on class and gender. Migration does not influence family formation of socially and economically privileged persons but it does influence those of disadvantaged individuals.

“What interested us the most is how the intersection of social class and gender relations shapes demographic patterns “, says Andrés Castro, researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany about why he and his colleague Edith Y. Gutiérrez V., Professor at the University of Guadalajara, worked on the paper recently published in International Migration Review.

Their main result is very straightforward: Having migration experience does not come with a unique way of family formation.

Family formation among socially and economically privileged persons do not seem to be affected by migration. It is among disadvantaged migrants, in terms of social class and gender, that the migration experience is associated with significant disruptions in family formation and dissolution trajectories.

Consistently, women's family formation trajectories are more affected by migration than men's. “These two conclusions confirm that class and gender relations are factors that shape individuals’ propensity to follow certain family paths; migration can disrupt these factors without erasing them”, says Andrés Castro.

Data of 16,000 men and women were analyzed

The researchers used retrospective information on family formation and dissolution and migration histories collected by the Mexican Migration project and the Latin American Migration project. This information, publicly available upon registration, allowed them to analyze family and migration events of 16,000 men and women from eight Latin American and Caribbean countries through the second half of the 20th century - about 6,000 of them had some migration experience.

“In our study we revealed, described and interpreted gender and social class variations to offer a more nuanced understanding of the interdependence between the demographic processes of family formation and migration, over the course of life”, says Andrés Castro.

Original Publication

Castro Torres, A. F.., Gutiérrez Vazquez, E.Y.: Gendered and stratified family formation trajectories in the context of Latin American migration, 1950 to 2000. International Migration Review (2022). DOI:10.1177/01979183211067768

Authors and Affiliations

Andrés Felipe Castro Torres, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock

Edith Yolanda Gutiérrez Vázquez, University of Guadalajara

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Author of the paper

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Andres Castro

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The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.