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Immigrant Selectivity and Fertility Adaptation in the United States

Joan R. Kahn
Social Forces
Vol. 67, No. 1 (Sep., 1988), pp. 108-128
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2579102
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2579102
Page Count: 21
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Immigrant Selectivity and Fertility Adaptation in the United States
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Abstract

This examination of the fertility of immigrants moving to the United States from high-fertility countries tests several hypotheses about the process of assimilation and the impact of selectivity using microdata from the 1980 U.S. Census and aggregate data from the sending countries. Unlike previous assimilation studies that focus on integration into the destination society, this study emphasizes the dynamic nature of the assimilation process by modeling the declining impact of the origin cultural setting. Although part of the variability among immigrant groups can be attributed to compositional differences, sending-country fertility levels continue to exert a positive influence on immigrant fertility behavior. However, this influence is considerably weaker among immigrants who are positively selected with respect to their sending-country populations, presumably because they adapt more rapidly to the destination society. Additional evidence suggests that in general, as immigrants adapt to the U.S., they are less and less influenced by their origin social environments.

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