A review of migration and fertility theory through the lens of African immigrant fertility in France
This paper evaluates fertility and migration theory in order to further understand the impact of migration on fertility. I first analyze the fertility and migration literature separately and then look at the burgeoning literature on the impact of migration on fertility. As a result, I propose an integrated framework for analyzing the migration-fertility nexus. Within the fertility context, I use Bongaarts and Watkins concept of social interaction, whereas within the migration context, I draw on Massey’s capitalist transition theory, and Pessar and Mahler’s ‘gendered geometries of power’. This integrated framework considers three major factors: the sending country, the global context of migration systems, and the receiving country. Gender is the key to understanding fertility decisions within all three levels. Migration from Africa to France is considered in order to exemplify these processes. Bozon’s typology of African demographic patterns shows how and why the sending country matters for future childbearing decisions post-migration. To further explore this facet, four countries are used to evaluate the impact of migrating from specific types of countries on fertility post-migration: Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, and Rwanda. The global context of migration is constantly changing, both encouraging and restraining men and women in particular ways, which also affects fertility choices. Finally, the receiving country interacts with migrants in various ways—immigration policies, the economy, and social institutions—playing important roles in fertility outcomes.
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