Reproduction at the Margins: Migration and Legitimacy in the New Europe
AbstractOne of the most compelling demographic questions in contemporary Europe has been whether immigrant populations will bring their youthful age pyramids to help support Europeâ€™s subfertile, aging populations. But how do immigrants envision their own reproductive life trajectories across vast, ambiguous political boundaries whose seismic shifts can threaten their security? This paper reviews some recent literature from demography, anthropology, and the media as well as several case studies to suggest that for immigrant families at the political margins of Europe, especially those from developing countries, the most pressing fertility question is not numbers of children. It is instead the legitimacy that children may provide in their familiesâ€™ efforts to gain work, social security, and rights to settle. This implies that the reproductive practices adopted by immigrants in Europe may derive less from traditions in their home countries than from efforts to adapt to new rules of â€œbelongingâ€ in Europe. Indeed, what seem very striking in the light of conspicuously low and increasingly non-marital fertility in mainstream Western Europe are the increasing demands placed on immigrants to pursue legitimacy in their reproductive lives. The paper concludes that levels of fertility among immigrants are unlikely to assimilate to the national norms until peopleâ€™s status becomes more secure. Finally, just as we can no longer rest on conventional notions of reproductive practices in the developing world, it is increasingly impossible to draw general conclusions about fertility in Europe without keeping the developing world in view.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research Special Collections.
Volume (Year): 3 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/
agency; anthropology; Europe; fertility; globalization; immigrants; legitimacy; marginalization;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
- Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gunnar Andersson & Kirk Scott, 2004. "Labour-market attachment and entry into parenthood: The experience of immigrant women in Sweden," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2004-011, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
- van de Kaa, Dirk J., 1993. "European migration at the end of history," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 87-108, January.
- Larry Bumpass & R. Raley & James Sweet, 1995. "The changing character of stepfamilies: implications of cohabitation and nonmarital childbearing," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 425-436, August.
- Caroline H. Bledsoe & René Houle & Papa Sow, 2007. "High fertility Gambians in low fertility Spain," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 16(12), pages 375-412, May.
- Eleonora Mussino & Salvatore Strozza, 2012. "The fertility of immigrants after arrival: The Italian case," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 26(4), pages 99-130, February.
- Caroline Bledsoe & Papa Sow, 2008. "Family reunification ideals and the practice of transnational reproductive life among Africans in Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2008-001, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
- Nadja Milewski, 2007. "First child of immigrant workers and their descendants in West Germany," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(29), pages 859-896, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Editorial Office).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.