Migrant Birthrates Falling in Germany, Study Finds

The Local Europe (Berlin), August 11, 2010

Second generation immigrants in Germany are having fewer babies than their parents, a new study has revealed, denting the widely-held belief that migrant communities could be the nation’s fertility engines.

The study, “Fertility of Immigrants: A Two-Generational Approach in Germany”, found that children born in Germany to immigrant parents barely have more children than native Germans, daily Die Welt reported Wednesday.

“Women of the second generation have nearly matched German women in their fertility patterns,” said study author Nadja Milewski from the University of Rostock.

This is despite the fact that they get married on average two years younger than native Germans and become mothers correspondingly earlier.

Milewski’s finding appears to be a further blow to Germany’s demographic prospects, which are considered to be bleak because of the country’s low birthrate. It also tears apart the anti-immigration thesis that native Germans will eventually be a minority in the country.

Milewski studied extensive data gathered on more than 5,000 West German women between 1984 and 2004, along with immigrant women from the first and second generations from Turkey, southern Europe and southeastern Europe.

By the time the women were 35, some 18.5 percent of them had three or more children–but this figure was just 15 percent for second-generation women from Greece and 15.4 percent for women from the former Yugoslavian countries.

Although second generation women from Italy and Turkey did more commonly have three or more children–33.3 percent and 34.2 percent respectively–the numbers had clearly dropped between the first and second generations. Some 58.8 percent of first generation Turkish women had three or more children, as did 43.6 percent of Italian women.

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