Demography and immigration: france clarifies its position

demography and immigration: france clarifies

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The high fertility level in the country, which has been stable for a long time, is not due to immigrants "Inflated", according to the National Institute for Demographic Research

Population figures have become a political ie in recent years. Most strikingly in Israel, where some even speak of a "demographic war" talk of a demographic war between Jewish and Muslim Israelis. In Europe, too, there is a politically underpinned interest in viewing population statistics against the background of population growth due to immigrants, especially from Islamic countries.

The fact that demography has become a political ie has obviously prompted the French National Institute for Demographic Research (Ined) to provide a clear explanation of how its material can be used to counter fears of foreign infiltration. Their recent report on fertility in France is headlined with the question of whether the highest fertility rate in Europe is due to immigrants.

After noting that France, with an average of 1.88 children per woman, is the European leader (far above the EU average of 1.59, the German figure of 1.57 is just below that), the text gets down to business right at the beginning.

The very "obsessive fear"

In the French version (English here) the assertion is taken up again, but more polemically: Whether the high fertility level in France, which has been stable for a long time, is not due to immigrants "inflated" becomes? This catch-all is widespread and often translates into an almost obsessive fear ("hantise"), which is about the balance of power between the French-born and immigrants, who threaten the national identity.

At this point, ideological aspects will be left aside in order to limit oneself to facts alone, according to the unusual announcement of French demographers. Their factual explanation is centrally based on the distinction between the share of immigrants in the number of births and their impact on the fertility rate.

(Incidentally, the Ined contributors cannot but leave aside the dispute between denominational groups, because in secular France there is no public data on who belongs to the Christian or Muslim denominations.)

Immigrants: Proportionally more births …

It is noted that immigrant women – as a "immigree" defined by their place of birth outside France and parents who are not French citizens and now have their permanent residence in France – proportionally gave birth to more children in 2017.

Their share of the total number of women of childbearing age is reflected as 12 percent, whereas their share of births in 2017 was 19 percent, rounded up slightly. In absolute numbers, that is 143.000 births out of a total of 760.000.

The share of immigrant mothers in the total number of births has grown somewhat since 2009. Ten years ago, it was 16 percent; since 2016, it has been 18.8. Clearly, this already shows the far cruder share of the mother, who as "Nonimmigrant" are categorized as. In 2009 it was 84 percent, since 2016 it has been 81.2.

…but little effect on overall fertility rate

This is followed by the result, which the authors highlight and compare to the one mentioned at the beginning of the report Ondit ("One says so", tantamount to odor) against each other. Although the fertility rate of the immigrant mother, at 2.6 children per woman, is higher than that of the French-born mother, which is put at 1.8, this increases the overall fertility rate only very slightly: namely, to 1.9.1

The report concludes that the high fertility rate in France owes less to immigration than to the fact that it is very high among French-born women.

"A 75-year family-friendly tradition"

This is responsible for the first place in Europe, says at the end of the report in English. The original French version adds that the family-friendly policy, which has been supported by a broad consensus for 75 years, is having an effect.

But this does not resolve all the questions that one is accustomed to hearing from the side that does not accept a passport documenting citizenship as proof of national allegiance. The report does not indicate the share of the now naturalized generation with a migration background in the fertility and birth rates.

There, as just mentioned, they point to the decades-long tradition of high fertility rates in France as a rough trend, only a small part of which has to do with immigration.

The arrival of immigrants

But it is also accompanied by an observation that in the long run later generations of immigrants adapt to the birth rates of their new home country.

"A detailed study of the fertility rates of successive birth cohorts reveals a clear trend toward behavioral convergence across immigrant and non-immigrant groups", is noted in a box within the report that explains the quantity of fertility of immigrant mothers (Box 2).

This trend plays an important role, as the tendency for many immigrant women to wait until they are in France to have their first child is observed, which contributes to the picture that the demographers’ study set out to refute.

The report also cites figures that confirm circulating amptions, such as the observation that the fertility rate of women from North African and sub-Saharan countries and from Turkey is much higher than the average.

Women from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia have 3.5 children per woman, and women from sub-Saharan Africa and Turkey have a fertility rate of 3 children per woman. These values are in part above those in the countries of origin.

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