French fertility is the highest in Europe.
Because of its immigrants?

Press release Published on 08 July 2019

Population & Societies no.568, July-August 2019

Authors: Sabrina Volant, Gilles Pison and François Héran

With a total fertility rate of 1.9 children per woman in 2017, France is close to replacement level. Is this due to the presence of immigrants, as is often claimed? Using new data from the latest annual census surveys, Sabrina Volant, Gilles Pison, and François Héran estimate the contribution of immigrant women to French fertility and compare the situation in France with that of its European neighbours.

Immigrant mothers account for 19% of all births in France today. The total fertility rate of immigrant women is higher than that of native-born French women (2.6 children versus 1.8 in 2017), but as only a minority of women are concerned, their births increase the French fertility rate by just 0.1 children, from 1.8 to 1.9 children per woman in 2017.

In half of the other European countries, as in France, the presence of immigrant women raises fertility rates. But in a quarter of them, their numbers are too small to influence these rates, as is the case in most of the former communist countries of Central or Eastern Europe. There are even countries, such as Iceland and Denmark, where immigrant women tend to lower national rates rather than increase them.

 French fertility rates top the rankings in Europe not so much for reasons of immigration, but rather because fertility among native-born women is high.


Released on: 10/07/2019