Competing family pathways for immigrants and their descendants in Germany

Chia Liu*, Hill Kulu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Immigrants bring contemporary demographic changes to the destination country through their contributions to diversity, and future population. In this study, we examine the partnership and fertility trajectories for individuals with Turkish, Russian, Kazak, Polish, and Southern European backgrounds born between 1970 and 1999. We adopt a life course perspective using event history techniques on retrospective partnership and birth histories of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) Survey. By treating first entrance into cohabitation, marriage, and parenthood as competing events, we illuminate not only the differences in family ideologies between natives and immigrants but also highlight the heterogeneity among immigrant origin groups and generations in family formation pathways. Convergence with natives occurs at different paces for immigrant groups. Controlling cohort effects and socioeconomic conditions, individuals with Turkish background stand out with an earlier and higher level of entrance into marriage and parenthood, with only modest changes across birth cohorts and migrant generations. The risk of nonmarital or pre-marital childbearing is lower for non-European immigrants than for German natives. Marriage remains an important institution to individuals of some immigrant backgrounds, despite global trends in the rise of cohabitation and nonmarital childbearing in recent years. This work serves to highlight the diversification of family types in a leading migration country.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages33
JournalInternational Migration Review
Early online date6 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2023


  • Family
  • Cohabitation
  • Immigrant


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