Explaining children migration patterns to France and Spain. Methodological challenges for cross-national research

Amparo Gonzalez-Ferrer, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Tatiana Eremenko, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Children make the largest part of family-linked migration to developed countries. However, very little is known about when and why their parents decide to bring them in or not. The selection process by which some children join their parents at destination while others are left behind is the focus of this paper. Utilizing two nationally representative surveys of immigrants in France (TéO 2009) and Spain (ENI 2007), we examine rates and timing of their foreign-born children’s migration. The gender of the pioneer parent and the child, number and ages of siblings and ethnic origin appear important in accounting for the observed variations. However, even among similar ethnic groups, cross-national differences remain larger than expected, which suggests some role of immigration policies but also the difficulty of comparing the behaviour of migrants living in countries at different stages of their migration experience.

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Presented in Session 39: International migration flows