Family formation dynamics and migration: examining disruption and interrelation of events of Senegalese migrants in Europe

Elisabeth K. Kraus, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

This paper examines the relationship between individual migration experiences and family formation events of Senegalese migrants in Europe. It builds on two theoretical approaches that link migration with fertility and nuptiality, namely the disruption and the interrelation of events hypotheses. The aim is not to provide a static description at one point in time, but over a certain period of time. I use longitudinal life history data from Senegalese migrants in Spain, France and Italy collected in the framework of the survey "Migrations between Africa and Europe" (MAFE-MESE-Senegal). Applying Sequence Analysis techniques (Optimal Matching) and distinguishing between genders, I compute the distances between different life course sequences in terms of childbearing and union formation during the immediate time before and after migration. In the next step individuals are grouped into different clusters according to the (dis-) similarities in their family formation trajectories. The results indicate that for both men and women union formation and childbearing are strongly linked with migration processes. While for Senegalese men the disruption hypothesis seems more important, for women interrelation of events is the prevalent hypothesis. Regression analyses indicate that demographic and socio-economic characteristics, but also the receiving context, determine whether an individual belongs to one or another cluster. This paper can give some new perspectives to existing theories on family formation of the migrant population, especially for sub-Sahara African migrants in Europe. It builds on and enhances different fields of ongoing research on migration and gives some new theoretical and empirical insights into these fields.

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Presented in Session 44: Fertility and reproductive behaviour among immigrant populations