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Immigrant and Native Fertility during the 1980s: Adaptation and Expectations for the Future

Joan R. Kahn
The International Migration Review
Vol. 28, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 501-519
DOI: 10.2307/2546818
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2546818
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Immigrant and Native Fertility during the 1980s: Adaptation and Expectations for the Future
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Abstract

This article compares both the fertility behavior and expectations for future childbearing of foreign and native-born women in the United States using data from the 1980 U.S. Census and the 1986 and 1988 June Current Population Surveys. The goals are to first analyze the sources of the growing fertility gap between immigrant and native women and then to explore the extent to which immigrants adapt (or intend to adapt) their fertility once in the United States. The results show that the immigrant-native fertility gap has increased during the 1980s - not because immigrant fertility has increased, but rather because fertility dropped at a faster rate for natives than for immigrants. The relatively high fertility of immigrants compared to natives can be completely explained by compositional differences with respect to age, education, income and ethnicity. The two analyses of adaptation showed somewhat different results. The synthetic cohort analysis, which traced the fertility behavior of a fixed cohort of immigrants during the 1980s, found little evidence of adaptation or assimilation, except for Southeast Asian immigrants. On the other hand, the analysis of fertility expectations suggests that although immigrants 'expect' to have higher fertility than similar natives, they tend to adapt their fertility 'goals' over time, both within and across generations.

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