Children of immigrants

This page gives information about my ongoing project: The family formation of immigrants who arrive as children. This research is funded by the Swedish Research Council from 2018-2022. Please contact me with any questions or requests for further information.


This project studies three aspects of family formation that are determinants of immigrant welfare: partnership status, intermarriage, and the timing of parenthood. We focus on immigrants who arrived in Sweden as children, and our central question is whether their exposure to Swedish society – via age at migration or residential segregation – has an impact on their family formation. In addition, we will explore the links between societal exposure, family dynamics, and socio-economic integration. To do this, we will use longitudinal Swedish register data to study the lives of different types of immigrant, including unaccompanied children and the children of refugees.

Research team and collaborators:

Throughout this project I will be working with colleagues from Stockholm University – Eleonora Mussino, Caroline Uggla, Siddartha Aradhya and Gunnar Andersson – as well as Alice Goisis (LSE), Ognjen Obućina (INED), Maarten Bijlsma (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research), Moritz Marbach and Dominik Hangartner (ETH Zürich and the Immigration Policy Lab) as well as Linna Martén and Jens Hainmueller (Stanford University and the Immigration Policy Lab).

Published papers:

The Same Fertility Ideals as in the Country of Origin? A Study of the Personal Ideal Family Size among Immigrant Women in Italy (Eleonora Mussino and Livia Elisa Ortensi)

Aim: To understand the extent to which immigrant fertility norms change after migration. Method: Regression analysis of Italian survey data (ISTAT 2011-12). Results: Country of origin has an important role in the determination of immigrants’ ideal family sizes. Women from countries where large families are the ideal are more likely to have a lower ideal family size compared to women in their origin country, while women from countries where two children are considered ideal mostly have the same ideal family size (compared to women in their origin country). This study also confirms that women who migrated as adults are more likely than child migrants to conform with the fertility ideals of their country of origin. At the same time, the number of years spent in the destination country is not significantly associated with a shift away from the norms prevalent in the country of origin.

[More information and open access paper] [Longer summary]

Working papers:

Age at Arrival and the Integration Trajectories of Childhood Refugees (with Linna Marten, Moritz Marbach, Dominik Hangartner, and Jens Hainmueller); presented at Stockholm Sessions on Migration (November 2017); presented at Institut national d’études démographiques (January 2018); presented at the annual conference of the Population Association of America (April 2018); presented at the European Population Conference (June 2018).

The fertility of child migrants from low fertility origins: Does social support for childbearing have an impact on tempo and quantum differentials? (with Eleonora Mussino and Gunnar Andersson); presented at the annual conference of the Population Association of America (April 2018).

The Impact of Early Parenthood on the Integration of Childhood Refugees (with Alice Goisis and Siddartha Aradhya); presented at the conference ‘Postponement of Parenthood: Causes and Consequences’ (September 2018); presented at the International Symposium on Family and Fertility over the Life Course in Europe (December 2018); presented at the conference of the Italian Association for Population Studies (January 2019); to be presented at the ‘Population Association of America’ conference (April 2019).

Gendered age differences in immigrant partnerships (with Caroline Uggla); to be presented at the ‘Population Association of America’ conference (April 2019).

Other activities:

The family formation of immigrants who arrive as children: Project overview, presented to the Department of Human Geography at Stockholm University (November 2017)