Migration and fertility: competing hypotheses re-examined
European Journal of Population, 21:1, 51–87 (2005)
Competing views exist concerning the impact of geographical mobility on childbearing patterns. Early research shows that internal migrants largely exhibit fertility levels dominant in their childhood environment, while later studies find migrants’ fertility to resemble more closely that of natives at destination. Some authors attribute the latter to adaptation, others claim the selection of migrants by fertility preferences. Moreover, short-term fertility-lowering-effects of residential relocation have also been proposed and challenged in the literature. This paper contributes to the existing discussion by providing an analysis of the effect of internal migration on fertility of post-war Estonian female cohorts. We use retrospective event-history data and apply intensity regression for both single and simultaneous equations. Our analysis shows that first, the risk of birth for native residents decreases with increasing settlement size and the decrease is larger for higher-order parities. Second, it shows that migrants, whatever their origin, exhibit fertility levels similar to those of non-migrants at destination. We also observe elevated fertility levels after residential relocations arising from union formation. Our further analysis supports the adaptation hypothesis. We find no evidence on (strong) selectivity of migrants by fertility preferences.
Keywords: Estonia, event history analysis, fertility, internal migration