A demonstration of the effect of seasonal migration on fertility

Douglas S. Massey, Brendan P. Mullan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Fertility estimates were calculated using own children data from the Mexican migrant town of Guadalupe, Michoacan. In this town, 75 percent of families have a member working in the United States, and wives are often regularly separated from their migrant husbands. Simulations by Menken (1979) and Bongaarts and Potter (1979) suggest that fertility among these women should be depressed. Our results confirmed this hypothesis, showing that the seasonal absence of migrant husbands disrupted both the level and timing of fertility. However, the effect was greater for legal than for illegal migrants, a pattern that stemmed from social factors as well as physical separation. A logistic regression analysis showed that reductions in birth probabilities are greater the longer a couple is separated, and that these reductions are in the range expected from prior simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-517
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1984
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography


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