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Immigration, assimilation and fertility: a study of Black African immigrants in Vancouver Nyadoi, Florence


This study examines how in the context of international migration, ethnic (cultural) assimilation may influence fertility and attitudes towards fertility. The relationships between ethnic assimilation (measured by the extent to which immigrants will have subscribed to the core values of Canadian society through life style or behaviourial characteristics and social networks), socioeconomic status (that is, level of education and income), and six variables used to measure fertility and attitudes towards fertility of Black African immigrant women in Canada are examined. These include: ideal number of children; ideal number of Sons; currently preventing pregnancy; currently pregnant or trying to get pregnant; children ever born still living and more sons than daughters. The African women who participated in the study were all immigrants in Canada, selected from the different African communities. Only women in their child bearing years were selected. An attempt was made to include women from all the different categories of immigrants. Africans that were not black and blacks from North America and the Caribbean were excluded from the sample. Data collection for the study was at the micro-level. In total, 165 questionnaires, consisting of structured questions were handed out. Results revealed statistically significant relationships between ethnic assimilation and fertility and attitudes towards fertility. For example, a significant relationship existed between attending African dances, parties and informal social affairs, and currently preventing pregnancy, and pregnant or trying to get pregnant. A significant negative correlation was found between income and children ever born that were still living. Age too was found to be related to fertility, with women in the older age—group (35-44) reporting higher averages for ideal number of children and sons, as opposed to those in the younger age—groups and the entire population. Surprisingly enough, no significant relationships were recorded between level of education, feeling of ethnicity, maintenance of contact with homeland, years spent in Canada, residence in Africa, the category immigrants belonged to, and fertility as originally anticipated.

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