Fertility of Immigrant Women Higher than Canadian-born

Immigrant women from Central Africa have the highest fertility rates according to Canadian census data (Steve Evans, CC license)

A recent study by researchers in the U.S. and Canada finds that immigrant women have slightly higher fertility rates than women born in Canada, reversing the trend from before the 1980s of lower-than-average fertility among immigrants.

The study, by Princeton University’s Alicia Adsera and University of Calgary’s Ana Ferrer, attributes the change in relative fertility rates to a shift of immigrant country of origin to regions with higher fertility rates.

Immigrants from countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia have the highest fertility rates according to Canadian census data compiled by the researchers.

The rising share of immigrants coming from these regions has changed the fertility profile of the average Canadian immigrant, the study authors conclude.

Immigrants from China, North/Central Europe and Eastern Europe were found to have the lowest fertility rates. Among immigrants from high-fertility regions, those from Central America and Central and Eastern Africa were found to have the highest fertility figures.

While the researchers found that the pattern of higher fertility rates among immigrants held even when other factors, like language spoken at home, intermarriage, and language of spouse, were controlled for, one factor that did predict native-level fertility rates was education, with educated immigrant women having on average similar fertility rates as native-born Canadians.

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