The fertility of East to West German migrants

Anja Vatterrott, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Twenty years after the political change in East Germany and the reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany millions of people have migrated from the Eastern to the Western part due to high unemployment and economic deprivation in the East. Comparing demographic behaviour in the two regions of East and West we can see that the total fertility rate has converged again, but also that distinct differences in demographic behaviour prevail. These lie mainly in the timing and pattern of fertility as well as in the nature of unions, with non-marital unions and births being considerably more frequent in the East. Moreover, cultural and institutional differences remain. They constitute differences in the approach towards the compatibility of employment and motherhood, which are taken as parallel investments in the East, but competing alternatives in the West. East to West migrants represent an interesting group to study, because the analysis of their behaviour allows us to understand the persistence of differences in East and West German behaviour. The great merit of this study is that East to West German migrants share a very similar cultural heritage with the population in the recipient society, which makes an investigation much more straightforward than studies on the behaviour of international migrants. Using data from the German Socio Economic Panel for the years 1990 to 2008 we are looking at the family formation behaviour of East to West migrants in Germany after the political reunification. Using event history modelling, we analyse whether their behaviour resembles that of one of the stayer populations in the Eastern or Western part. We have generated a time-varying covariate that indicates whether a person has ever migrated from Eastern to Western Germany and include major employment characteristics (employment status and education) into the model.

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Presented in Session 44: Internal migration and fertility