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CSDE Seminar Series

Population Research Discovery Seminars

Point of Reference: A Multidimensional Understanding of Migration, Fertility, and Reproductive Health

Julia Behrman, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University

12:30-1:30 PM PT


UW Department of Global Health and UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Migration is an important social process with far reaching implications for fertility and family change.  As such, considerable literature explores whether migrant’s fertility assimilates to the norms of women in destination contexts.  Nonetheless, most research investigating the relationship between international migration and fertility outcomes compares the reproductive outcomes of migrants to those of native-born women in receiving countries. Drawing on literature on the importance of a transnational perspective, we standardize and integrate data from two different sources—one collected in France (the receiving country in our study)—and one collected in African and Asian countries (the senders).  Our analyses illustrate how estimated associations between migration and fertility and reproductive health outcomes differ when comparing migrant women to non-migrant women in receiving versus sending countries, which provides a fuller understanding of processes surrounding migration and assimilation to fertility and family norms in destination-contexts.  We also discuss and analyze the role of selection into migration and provide insight into the mechanisms underlying fertility change among migrant populations.

Julia Behrman is an Assistant Professor in Sociology and Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University whose research investigates the causes and consequences of family change in a global perspective. Behrman’s research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and South African Medical Research Council and her work has received awards from American Sociological Association Sections on Education, Population, and Development; the Society for the Study of Social Problems; the Population Association of America; and the Sociologist AIDS Network. Prior to starting at Northwestern, she was a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow in Sociology at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. She received her PhD from New York University in 2017.

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