Differences in fertility plans of adolescents in Spain: the role of ethnicity and socioeconomic status

Teresa Castro Martin, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Elisabeth K. Kraus, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

This paper aims to examine aspirations and expectations of adolescents in Spain with regard to fertility patterns, using survey data collected in Secondary Schools in Madrid. We are interested in the variability of these preferences across generations and between children of immigrants and their native peers. We look at fertility expectations to account for varying cultural backgrounds and for acculturation and/or integration processes. Furthermore, differentiated expectations of fertility tempo and quantum among children of immigrants and natives might be an indicator for segmented assimilation with regard to their or their parents’ socio-economic status. For the empirical analysis of this paper we use survey data of 2,480 adolescents, including two thirds of native Spanish and one third of Latin American origin youths. Furthermore, the parents of about half of the adolescents were also interviewed. Besides aspirations and expectations linked to childbearing, the survey provides information about parents’ labor situation and their educational levels, variables that are used as a proxy for their socio-economic status. First regression analyses indicate that adolescents’ aspirations and expectations indeed reflect actual cross-country differences in age at first birth. Also gender, number of siblings and educational expectations seem to be important predictors for fertility preferences. Most theoretical approaches and empirical studies in this field concentrate on the U.S. Focusing on Spain as a relatively new immigration country can give important new insights into another migratory setting, which may be valid also for other (European) immigrant-receiving countries.

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Presented in Session 96: Fertility of immigrants