Cohort fertility differentials between native and foreign born women in a new receiving country: the case of Greece

Christos Bagavos, Panteion University, Greece
Cleon Tsimbos, University of Piraeus
Georgia Verropoulou, University of London

The aim of this paper is to examine differentials in fertility patterns between native and foreign born women in Greece. The analysis focuses both on the postponement of childbearing and changing family size. Measures of cumulative cohort fertility and various mean ages of the fertility schedule are computed, using the numbers of children ever born alive by women in the 1950-1970 cohorts reported at the 2001 population census. With respect to citizenship, emphasis is given to Albanian and Bulgarian women who constitute the most numerous groups of immigrants. The analysis shows that cohort fertility for Greek women is higher than for all other nationalities combined. However, significant differences can be observed among national groups; fertility is highest for the Albanians and lowest for the Bulgarians, while levels for native women are somewhere in between. The data indicate that completed cohort fertility is decreasing over time while the gap observed among the ethnic groups is narrowing, mainly because the fertility for Albanian women has been declining at a faster pace than for either the Bulgarians or the Greeks. The analysis failed to identify any positive relationship between early mean age at childbearing and quantum of fertility. In fact, Bulgarian women who have their first and second births earlier than all other women have also the lowest fertility. The transformation of Greece from a sending to a receiving country is a recent phenomenon and the contribution of immigrant women to the overall fertility is still limited. However, as foreign born females have a younger age-structure than Greek women while, at the same time, there is a significant postponement of fertility on the part of the latter, their presence - and particularly of the Albanians - is likely to affect total numbers of births and period fertility rates.

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Presented in Session 28: Demographic aspects of international migration