Foreign mothers in Italy

Cinzia Castagnaro, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)
Sabrina Prati, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)
Valentina Talucci, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)
Adriano Pareto, Instituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)

Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe. However, from 1995 has been recorded a slight recovery due essentially to fertility behaviours of foreign mothers. The foreign live births rose from the 9.600 in 1995 (1.7% of the total number of live births), to over 52.000 (9.6%) in 2005. The TFT of foreign women is twice the Italian’s one (respectively 2.41 and 1.24). The aim of this paper is to analyse the foreign mothers characteristics and behaviours and to compare them with those of Italian mothers in order to appreciate factors affected the choice to have a child in Italy. Data were provided by the Italian Birth Sample Survey. We decided to focus on the analysis of the familiar context and the couple dynamics, in case of both mixed couples and couples with both foreign parents. Differential behaviours by citizenship arise in relation to the tendency to form a family with a partner of different nationality (especially Italian), as well as in relation to the number of children and the participation of mothers to the labour market. Results confirm the greatest tendency of foreign women coming from high fertility areas to have more children than Italian women and at younger age. The procreative model of country of origin seems to be a reduced influence for foreign women with an Italian partner. The main social and economic determinants that affect Italian women reproductive behaviours are not always able to explain foreign women reproductive behaviours. Comparing Italian and foreign women with the same level of education or with the same working condition, foreign mothers keep their peculiarity: more children and at younger age. Furthermore, the participation of foreign mothers to the labour market depends on their area of origin and on the length of their permanence in our country.

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Presented in Session 24: Migrant Demographic Behaviour: Fertility