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The Fertility of Migrants and Minorities
Hannover, Germany, 6-8 February 2017

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 28 November 2016.

In the current age of migration, immigrants substantially shape the size and age structure of receiving societies, but there is also the question to what extent their fertility and the fertility of subsequent migrant generations matter for future population developments. Traditional concepts of migrant fertility argue that this question is only of temporary nature. Differences between migrant and native fertility will disappear within around three generations, as subsequent migrant generations become increasingly assimilated.


However, the approach of rapid assimilation of reproduction is challenged by different arguments. Migrants adjust their fertility to the reproductive levels of their host societies, but complete alignment was hardly observed. The perspective of assimilation within three generations rests on a particular historic situation in the U.S. in the 20th century. Moreover, new forms of migration emerged. Chain migration, migration corridors, or the establishment of ethnic communities in receiving societies may lead to delayed or segmented assimilation as well as to persistent minority populations of migrants.


Up to now, the number of migrant generations emerging from these new forms of migration is too small in order to draw conclusions on long-term assimilation and fertility. In this situation a  look at ‘old’ minorities, i.e. at minority populations that exist since several generations might be beneficial. Minorities are present in most societies and they substantially vary according to degrees of assimilation, integration, segregation, discrimination, ethnic identity, political autonomy, or the presence of minority-specific institutions. Research on the fertility of migrants might benefit from research on the determinants of minority fertility, as it provides insights into the consequences of long-term processes of ongoing, stopped, delayed, or regressing assimilation on reproductive behavior.


Given the fact that there is not much research on minority fertility up to now, studies in this field might benefit from insights into the determinants of migrant fertility as well. Many theoretical approaches to minority fertility are similar to the ones to migrant fertility, as they were developed within the context of subsequent migrant generations in the U.S. Thus, a critical evaluation is needed to which extent these approaches can be generalized and to which degree they are able to address minority fertility in other parts of the world. Moreover, theories of migrant assimilation and acculturation may also fruitfully be applied to minorities, which provides the opportunity to analyze migrant and minority fertility within a joint conceptual framework.


The workshop intends to bring together researchers working theoretically and/or empirically on the determinants of migrant and minority fertility in order to explore fields of potential cross-fertilization and of substantive differences. Contributions to the following topics are particularly welcome:

  • Theoretical approaches to migrant or minority fertility.
  • Approaches to the analysis of migrant and minority fertility within a joint theoretical framework.
  • Empirical analyses critically testing theories on migrant and minority fertility.
  • Empirical analyses on migrant or minority fertility under a perspective of different forms and degrees of assimilation, acculturation, or segregation.
  • Descriptive or explanatory analyses on minority fertility.
  • Simulations on the fertility of subsequent migrant generations.


Application: Please send an abstract of one page to Karina Hoekstra-Wibowo ( or Christoph Bühler (ch.buehler@ish.uni-hannover.deby November 28, 2016.

Notification of presenters: By December 7, 2016.

Conference location: Leibniz University Hannover.

Schedule: February 6, 2017, early afternoon, until February 8, 2017, noon.

Organizers: The workshop is jointly organized by the Institute of Sociology, Leibniz University Hannover, and the Hungarian Demographic Research Institute, Budapest.

Program committee: Christoph Bühler (Leibniz University Hannover), Zsolt Spéder (Hungarian Demographic Research Institute), Karina Hoekstra-Wibowo (Leibniz University Hannover).

For further information and for information about accommodations in Hannover please visit the workshop homepage at: