Domestic migration and family formation and dissolution trajectories in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1950-2000

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January 2022
Paper author(s): 
Andrés F. Castro Torres
Demographic Economics - Migration

Due to the importance of urbanization for the 20th -century demographic changes in Latin America and the Caribbean (LACar), scholarly research on domestic migration and family has overly focused on fertility differentials by migration status in urban areas. According to this literature, there exists a robust negative correlation between internal migration and fertility. However, this research has overlooked how this relationship varies across migration flows other than rural-to-urban, and according to women’s age at migration and social class. Additionally, previous research has not paid enough attention to the family formation and dissolution trajectories underlying the lower fertility of rural migrants. I use a life-course inductive approach to examine these overlooked aspects among women from 10 LACar countries. Using retrospective information on their childbearing and marital histories collected by the Demographic and Health Surveys, I build an eight-category typology of family paths and look at the conditional distribution of this typology by to women’s age at migration, educational attainment, and origin/destination area. This examination demonstrates that social class is the primary differentiation axis of family formation and dissolution trajectories, and that low-class young rural migrants played a crucial role on the demographic transformations that occurred in the region from 1950 to 2000.


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