Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 561–592 | Cite as

Socialization, Adaptation, Transnationalism, and the Reproductive Behavior of Sub-Saharan African Migrants in France

  • Patience A. AfulaniEmail author
  • Joseph Asunka


Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) move from a region with high fertility to regions with low fertility. Yet very few studies have examined the reproductive behavior of international migrants from SSA. This study examines the roles of origin and destination socialization on the fertility and fertility ideals of SSA migrants in France. The study draws on measures of assimilation to systematically examine the effects of socialization and adaptation as well as transnationalism for the effects of sustained origin ties. Data are from the TEO (“Trajectoires et Origines”) survey conducted in France (2008/2009). Logistic regression is used to examine current fertility (the odds of having a birth in the preceding 5 years), and poisson regression is used to examine cumulative fertility (children ever born) and fertility ideals (reported ideal number of children in a family). Controlling for sociodemographic factors, first-generation SSA migrants have higher fertility than second-generation SSA migrants and non-immigrants. But first- and second-generation SSA migrants have higher fertility ideals than non-immigrants. Among SSA migrants, first- and second-generation migrants do not differ in fertility and fertility ideals when adaptation is accounted for. Most measures of adaptation are negatively associated with actual fertility and fertility ideals. Transnationalism is associated with higher fertility ideals but less so with actual fertility. The study finds some evidence for origin socialization, but the findings are more strongly supportive of adaptation to the host society. Origin socialization appears to have a stronger influence on fertility ideals than actual fertility.


Sub-Saharan Africa Migrants Socialization Adaptation Assimilation Transnationalism Fertility 



We are indebted to Roger Waldinger and Anne Pebley for their invaluable mentoring, suggestions, and encouragement during the writing of this paper. We also grateful to Gail Harrison, Gilbert Gee, Jennie Brand, Patrick Heuveline, and Goleen Samari for useful comments and suggestions on earlier versions of the paper. PA would like to acknowledge funding support from the Bixby Doctoral Fellowship in Population, the Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund, the UCLA Graduate Division, and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health for fellowship support during the period of this work, and the Centre Maurice Halbwachs for granting access to the data [Trajectoires et origines (TEO)—version complète—2008: (2008, fichier électronique), INED et INSEE (producteur), Centre Maurice Halbwachs (CMH, diffuseur)].


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Health SciencesFielding School of Public Health, University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.California Center for Population ResearchLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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