Fertility Intentions and Views on Gender Roles: Russian Women in Estonia from an Origin-destination Perspective
In this article we investigate fertility intentions of Russian women in Estonia from an origin-destination perspective. Russian migrants to Estonia and their descendants are compared with women in the sending and host countries in order to identify similarities and differences in intended transitions to first, second and third births. The study is based on the Estonian and Russian Generations and Gender Surveys, which were conducted in 2004/2005, and employs logistic regression models. The dependent variables are intentions to become a mother, to have a second child, or to have a third child. The hypotheses for the study are mainly derived from the adaptation, cultural maintenance, and selection (characteristics) perspectives. We also incorporate attitudes towards gender roles into the models, which have proven to be a salient factor in shaping childbearing intentions, but have seldom been considered in studies of migrant fertility.
Our results lend support to both the adaptation and cultural maintenance perspectives. In accord with the latter, the similarity between the childbearing intentions of Russian migrants and their descendants in Estonia and those of their counterparts in Russia suggests that socialisation to the ethnic subculture has prevailed over the influence of the host society. We attribute this outcome to contextual features that have retarded integration processes. By contrast, we observe that proficiency in the host country language, residence in areas where the host population constitutes a large majority and having a native partner significantly contribute to the adaptation of migrants’ intentions to have another child to those of the host population. These results provide support to the adaptation argument. Finally, our study reveals a positive association between egalitarian views on gender roles and women’s intentions to have another child. However, variation in gender role attitudes accounts for a relatively minor part of the difference in intended fertility between the groups addressed in this study.
* This article belongs to a special issue on migrant fertility.
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