This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Migration on our Minds

Thanks to my son, John Weeks, for pointing me to a very interesting podcast on migration by Dan Carlin, who is a former radio show host, and now a very successful podcaster, focusing on issues of the day, but from a broad historical perspective with a bit of common sense thrown in (ergo the names of his podcasts--Hardcore History and Common Sense). The podcast is an hour long, but it is very thought-provoking and worth the time. Think of it is as a good guest lecture.

Migration will also be on the minds of people attending a briefing tomorrow (28 September) at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, on the topic of "The Integration of Immigrants into American Society." The briefing is sponsored by the NAS Committee on Population.

And, you'll want to read about a new study just released by researchers at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) comparing the fertility in Germany of Turkish origin women born in Turkey compared to those born in Germany. 
Katharina Wolf distinguishes between migrants of the “second generation” who were born to Turkish parents in Germany and migrants of the “1.5 generation” who were born in Turkey and moved to Germany before they were 17. While in the 1.5 generation 86 percent of all women already had a first child by 35, the percentage was only 77 for the second generation. It was even lower for Western German non-migrants of whom only 63 percent had become mothers by age 35. For comparison, among women living in Turkey nine out of ten have at least one child by the same age. (This number, 90 percent, is not a result of the MPIDR paper but stems from an earlier Turkish study). 
The migrants born in Turkey (1.5 generation) were the youngest to have their first child. Half of them had already become a mother by 24. For women born to Turkish parents in Germany this age was 27, while it was highest for non-migrants in Western Germany at 31 years.
These results confirm the key role of culture as a factor in fertility levels among migrants, as does a recent paper published in Demographic Research comparing fertility among different immigrant groups in the Lombardy region of Italy.
Moroccans are characterized by a strong interrelation effect between fertility and migration. Moroccans and Albanians are the national groups with the highest risk of having a first child during the years shortly after migration. Migration does not seem to have any effect on the fertility behavior of Romanians, who have a lower risk of having a child regardless of their migration status.
This brings us gets us back to the main point of Dan Carlin's podcast, which is to emphasize how complex this whole migration business is.

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