Fertility in Marriages Between German Men and Marriage Migrants



First generation migrants from countries with high fertility usually have more children than the native population of receiving countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. But is this also true for marriage migrants, who migrate under very special circumstances? This paper investigates the fertility of marriages of German men and their marriage migrant spouses from poorer countries, using a database of 268 German-German couples and 461 couples made up of German men and women from Thailand, Brazil, Poland and Russia. The results show that marriage migrants’ fertility is far below that of German-German couples. To a large part, this can be attributed to the partnership biography of husband and wife – especially when considering children from former relationships and a higher age at partnership formation. Bi-national marriages in which the husband is familiar with the wife’s culture are more inclined to have children. If the husband speaks the wife’s native language well and if he lived abroad prior to meeting his wife, childbirth is more probable than if he is ignorant of the wife’s culture and always resided in his native country.


Human Development Index Total Fertility Rate Traditional Gender Role Marriage Market Gender Role Attitude 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abbasi-Shavazi, M. J., & McDonald, P. (2000). Fertility and multiculturalism: Immigrant fertility in Australia, 1977–1991. International Migration Review, 34(1), 215–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersson, G. (2004). Childbearing after migration: Fertility patterns of foreign-born women in Sweden. International Migration Review, 38(2), 747–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Balbo, N., & Mills, M. (2011). The effects of social capital and social pressure on the intention to have a second or third child in France, Germany, and Bulgaria, 2004–05. Population Studies-a Journal of Demography, 65(3), 335–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becker, G. S. (1991). A treatise on the family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beer, B. (1996). Deutsch-Philippinische Ehen. Interethnische Heiraten und Migration von Frauen. Berlin: Reimer.Google Scholar
  6. Berger, P. L., & Kellner, H. (1964). Marriage and the construction of reality: An exercise in the microsociology of knowledge. Diogenes, 46, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bongaarts, J. (1990). The measurement of wanted fertility. Population and Development Review, 16(3), 487–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bratter, J. L., & King, R. B. (2008). “But will it last?”: Marital instability among interracial and same-race couples. Family Relations, 57(2), 160–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. del Rosario, V. O. (1994). Lifting the smoke-screen: The dynamics of mail-order bride migration from the Philippines. The Hague: Institute of Social Studies.Google Scholar
  10. Dunson, D. B., Colombo, B., & Baird, D. D. (2002). Changes with age in the level and duration of fertility in the menstrual cycle. Human Reproduction, 17(5), 1399–1403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fu, V. K., & Wolfinger, N. H. (2011). Broken boundaries or broken marriages? Racial intermarriage and divorce in the United States. Social Science Quarterly, 92(4), 1096–1117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Glowsky, D. (2011). Globale Partnerwahl. Soziale Ungleichheit als Motor transnationaler Heiratsentscheidungen. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
  13. Hassan, M. A. M., & Killick, S. R. (2003). Effect of male age on fertility: Evidence for the decline in male fertility with increasing age. Fertility and Sterility, 79(suppl. 3), 1520–1527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hoem, J. M., & Nedoluzhko, L. (2008). Marriage formation as a process intermediary between migration and childbearing. Demographic Research, 18(21), 611–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huinink, J., & Konietzka, D. (2007). Familiensoziologie. Eine Einführung. Frankfurt/M.: Campus.Google Scholar
  16. Iacovou, M., & Tavares, L. P. (2011). Yearning, learning, and conceding: Reasons men and women change their childbearing intentions. Population and Development Review, 37(1), 89–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kalmijn, M., Graaf, P. M. D., & Janssen, J. P. G. (2005). Intermarriage and the risk of divorce in the Netherlands: The effects of differences in religion and in nationality, 1974–94. Population Studies, 59(1), 71–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Klein, T. (2000). Binationale Partnerwahl. Theoretische und empirische Analysen zur familialen Integration von Ausländern in die Bundesrepublik. In Sachverständigenkommission 6. Familienbericht (Ed.), Familien ausländischer Herkunft in Deutschland: Empirische Beiträge zur Familienentwicklung und Akkulturation. Materialien zum 6. Familienbericht (pp. 304–346). Opladen: Leske + Budrich.Google Scholar
  19. Lauser, A. (2004). “Ein guter Mann ist harte Arbeit.” Eine ethnographische Studie zu philippinischen Heiratsmigrantinnen. Bielefeld: Transcript.Google Scholar
  20. Leete, R. (Ed.). (1999). Dynamics of values in fertility change. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Leibenstein, H. (1957). Economic backwardness and economic growth: Studies in the theory of economic development. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  22. Martin, F. O. (2001). Marriage Squeeze in Deutschland. Aktuelle Befunde auf Grundlage der amtlichen Statistik. In T. Klein (Ed.), Partnerwahl und Heiratsmuster. Sozialstrukturelle Voraussetzungen der Liebe (pp. 287–313). Opladen: Leske + Budrich.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Menken, J., Trussell, J., & Larsen, U. (1986). Age and infertility. Science, 233(4771), 1389–1394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Milewski, N. (2010). Immigrant fertility in West Germany: Is there a socialization effect in transitions to second and third births? European Journal of Population, 26(3), 297–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Müller-Schneider, T. (2000). Zuwanderung in westliche Gesellschaften. Analyse und Steuerungsoptionen. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Myrskyla, M., Kohler, H.-P., & Billari, F. C. (2009). Advances in development reverse fertility declines. Nature, 460(7256), 741–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nauck, B. (2001). Der Wert von Kindern für ihre Eltern. “Value of Children” als spezielle Handlungstheorie des generativen Verhaltens und von Generationenbeziehungen im interkulturellen Vergleich. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 53(3), 407–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nauck, B. (2007). Immigrant families in Germany. Family change between situational adaptation, acculturation, segregation and remigration. Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, 19(1), 34–54.Google Scholar
  29. Roloff, J. (1998). Eheschließungen und Ehescheidungen von und mit Ausländern in Deutschland. Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, 23(3), 319–334.Google Scholar
  30. Ruckdeschel, K. (2007). Der Kinderwunsch von Kinderlosen. Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, 19(2), 210–230.Google Scholar
  31. Ruenkaew, P. (2003). Heirat nach Deutschland. Motive und Hintergründe thailändisch-deutscher Eheschließungen. Frankfurt/M.: Campus.Google Scholar
  32. Rupp, M., & Blossfeld, H.-P. (2008). Familiale Übergänge: Eintritt in nichteheliche Lebensgemeinschaften, Heirat, Trennung und Scheidung, Elternschaft. In N. F. Schneider (Ed.), Lehrbuch moderne Familiensoziologie. Opladen: Barbara Budrich.Google Scholar
  33. Surkyn, J., & Lesthaeghe, R. (2004). Value orientations and the second demographic transition (SDT) in Northern, Western and Southern Europe: An update. Contemporary research on European fertility: Perspectives and developments. “Demographic Research”, Special collection 3, 45–86.Google Scholar
  34. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2001). Replacement migration: Is it a solution to declining and ageing populations? Accessed 22 Sept 2011.
  35. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2007). World population prospects. The 2006 revision. Highlights. Accessed 20 Sept 2011.
  36. United Nations Development Program. (2002). Human development report 2002. Accessed 15 May 2009.
  37. Wang, Y. A., Healy, D., Black, D., & Sullivan, E. A. (2008). Age-specific success rate for women undertaking their first assisted reproduction technology treatment using their own oocytes in Australia, 2002–2005. Human Reproduction, 23(7), 1633–1638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. World Values Study Association (2012). World values survey 1995. Accessed 18 July 2012.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Strategy OfficeHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations