Timing of education, work and childbirth: comparisons between native Danes, second generation immigrants and first generation immigrants raised in Denmark

Siddhartha Baviskar, SFI - Danish National Centre for Social Research
Mette Deding, SFI - Danish National Centre for Social Research
Vibeke Jakobsen, SFI - Danish National Centre for Social Research
Mette Lausten, SFI - Danish National Centre for Social Research

Our paper examines how the timing of childbirths is related to the timing of education and work for four groups of women: native Danes (group A), second generation immigrants (group B), first generation immigrants who came to Denmark at pre-school age (group C) and first generation immigrants who came to Denmark at school age (group D). The focus is on immigrants with non-Western background. While there is some research on first generation immigrants, there is little or no international research on fertility differences between the four groups we have defined. This is particularly so with respect to the relationship between education, employment and the timing of children. This is the gap in the literature that our study fills. Non-Western immigrants to Denmark typically come from countries that differ from Denmark with respect to norms regarding the timing of childbirth and women’s labour supply. Using longitudinal administrative register data from Statistics Denmark for the period 1986-2006, we examine the adaptation hypothesis, which suggests that the more time individuals with immigrant background spend in the host country and the younger they are when they arrive, the more their preferences (e,g. with respect to fertility and labour supply) are influenced by the current societal context. We do this by focusing on the way the number and timing of childbirths is related to two other important aspects of the life-course: education and work. Our preliminary analyses show that the expected pattern of differences between the groups is found with respect to fertility, labour market status and educational attainment at ages 20 and 30 but may not hold with regard to average total fertility.

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Presented in Session 96: Fertility of immigrants

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