Fertility Assimilation Behavior of Los Angeles Immigrants

Stuart H. Sweeney, University of California, Santa Barbara
Kathryn Grace, University of California, Santa Barbara

The perceived high-fertility levels among foreign-born women combined with historically large immigrant flows into California have been an ongoing source of concern among California voters. Those concerns have manifest in several waves of 'anti-immigrant' propositions, and are embedded in broader issues related to whether immigrants are assimilating. But the observed high foreign-born fertility levels may be an artifact of the summary measures used in published comparisons. We analyze parity-specific birth intervals and differentiate between pre-immigration and post-immigration births. We also develop comparable birth interval models for the source countries of the immigrants. The results are then combined using posterior predictive comparisons to provide a more complete assessment of fertility assimilation. Our research provides new insights into foreign-born fertility behavior, but more generally pioneers a new approach to studying the fertility assimilation process by pooling information from source countries and the receiving region.

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Presented in Session 138: Migration and Fertility