Journal Article

Gendered and stratified family formation trajectories in the context of Latin American migration, 1950 to 2000

Castro Torres, A. F., Gutierrez Vazquez, E. Y.
International Migration Review, 56:4, 1107–1140 (2022)
Open Access


The interdependence of migration and family formation has been studied extensively, but studies that consider the embeddedness of this interdependence within gender and class relations are less common. Most existing research on family and migration treats gender and social class as separate determinants of family events or transitions, instead of analyzing how the intersections of both shape full family formation trajectories, defined as all partnership and childbearing statuses throughout an individual life course. We overcome this gap by using an intersectionality framework to analyze trajectories of family formation and migration collected by the Mexican and Latin American Migration projects (1982–2016). Using retrospective information, we reconstruct full family formation and dissolution trajectories (i.e., individuals’ marital statuses and number of children born from ages 15 to 39) for 16,000 individuals and apply sequence and cluster analysis to define a six-category typology of ideal family formation trajectories. Next, we associate this typology with individuals’ sex, age at migration (domestic, international), and educational attainment as a way to measure individuals’ social class position. Our results suggest that the relationship between migration and typical family trajectories depends on the intersection of individuals’ social class and gender. Previous studies have neglected this intersection by overly focusing on the “average” migrant's experience. Migration research must acknowledge and account for migrants’ heterogenous experiences and pay more attention to how intersecting social categories mediate the relationship between migration and other demographic processes.

Keywords: America, family, gender, international migration, social classes
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