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Decoupling migration effects from income effects on reproduction in Central American migrant-sending households

Jason Davis, University of California, Santa Barbara

International migrants are subjected to numerous influences that may alter their fertility. The act of migration is disruptive to reproduction while exposure to different societal norms in addition to the transfer of remittances can generate ideas and opportunities for household family planning. Contemporary data for Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua surveyed by the Latin American Migration Project were analyzed to determine if migration length and remittance transfers had an influence on the instantaneous odds of a woman giving birth in given year. At the household level, the instantaneous odds that a birth would occur were negatively associated with an increase in cumulative U.S. remittance receipts. However, correlations between cumulative length of migration and household fertility outcomes were not found. A negative association between household income transfers and fertility may translate into significant economic, environmental and sociological benefits for communities that strive to reach development levels that exist in richer nations.

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Presented in Session 67: Transitions in family life: new links of nuptiality and fertility