Completed Fertility of Women: What Difference Does Exogamy Make?

Annegret Gawron , University of Rostock
Nadja Milewski , Federal Institut for Population Research, Wiesbaden

Do women from exogamous unions (i.e., unions between immigrants and non-immigrants) differ in their fertility compared to women from endogamous unions (i.e., unions among immigrants, or non-immigrants)? On the one hand, exogamous unions are an indicator of assimilation processes; either in relation to the adaption of immigrants towards the majority society, or as a mutual adjustment on both sides of the partners. On the other, exogamy is associated with stronger conflicts within the partnership and a higher likelihood of separation, that may have a depressing effect on fertility. Drawing on data from the GSOEP (1984-2018), we estimate generalized Poisson regressions to investigate the completed fertility of women aged 40+ and observe differences between majority/minority members: Exogamous non-immigrant women have lower fertility compared to endogamous immigrant women, which remains after controlling for union composition and selection effects. By contrast, exogamous immigrant women in pairings with a non-immigrant man display higher completed fertility compared to immigrant women in endogamous unions—especially when the ethnic/cultural difference is moderate. Our results demonstrate the role of selection into exogamy and challenge the notion of assimilation theories, according to which immigrants’ exogamy is indicative of their adaption towards the majority society in their country of destination.

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 Presented in Session P1. Postercafe