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Asylum Seeker: “A person who has left his/her country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country, but whose application has not yet been concluded.” (Anon n.d.)
Refugee: “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it”(Echr-cedh 1998).
Fertility: “It is the ability for a woman to conceive a child and give birth to her children. Fertility incentives are the state benefit that is accrued to both mother and child in order to support the family which aims at subsidizing the welfare of the family by providing cheap houses, child support payment, and free education, mother welfare payments for stay home mothers or temporary unemployed due to childbearing”(Anon n.d.).
The aim of this paper is to examine the quick response by the women to fertility and its benefits on arrival in Germany. This paper also seeks to understand the cause and the reason for the migration patterns from their places of origin and choice of Germany as a destination.
It is to assess the relationship between female migrants’ social benefits on fertility and their increased fertility desires for more children.
By statistical analysis, about 20 percent of the population have migration backgrounds and that makes Germany one of the European countries with the largest migrant population. The largest migrant groups in Germany are those from the former Soviet Union, followed by the groups are made up of ethnic Turks, numbering about three million and is very often spoken of as Germany’s largest non-native population group. The next on the list are people from Southern Europe, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, next are those from the Far East and the Middle East and finally, people from Africa, the smallest of the groups. The demographically youngest migrant groups found in Germany are those with Turkish and African backgrounds and they are the groups with the highest birth rates (Kreyenfeld 2010).
African Immigrants are relatively young at the time of arrival; unlike the other migrant groups under consideration. This group continues to grow solely on the basis of their high fertility rates, while the native population have been shrinking for decades; since migrants tend to have more children than they do and their percentage share of the population will continue to grow even without any further immigration.
The European Union convention made lot of resolution on asylum seekers and refugees; Article 3 and 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (states that ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’. A person can make a claim for protection based directly on Article 3 of ECHR as states are prohibited from returning a person to a country where she/he may suffer a violation of his/her rights under Article 3) and Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to fund a family according to the national laws governing the exercise of these rights respectively.
The literature on fertility goes back at least to Thomas Malthus and the nineteenth-century debate on the Poor Law (Boyer, 1989). Malthus argued that “the Poor Law subsidized marriage and fertility by removing the natural checks on population growth of delayed marriage and abstention from sexual activity” (Anon n.d.), this was articulated from his famous book Essay on the Principle of Population (1798). He saw positive checks to population growth as a contributing factor to the shortening of human fertility. Recent theories have linked migration and fertility prevalence from different aspects of human lives, such as:
It considers the economic and psychological costs of migration and notes the stresses people are exposed to from migration processes and after arrival; which may cause a short term disruption of fertility (Goldstein, 1973; Hervitz, 1985; Kulu, 2005). After arrival at a place of destination, people need time to settle down, which makes the occurrence of conception unlikely. An anticipatory effect is assumed that there is temporary separation between partners which decreases fertility.
This stresses the childhood socialization processes of an adult. “It assumes that the norms and values adopted in the home country are essential for the later fertility behavior of migrants” (Hervitz, 1985; Kahn, 1994; Kulu, 2005; Stephen and Bean, 1992)” Those norms and values of fertility are shaped during early childhood of migrants and are predominant in their fertility behavior(s) in the country(s) of destination. Migrants will maintain the norms and values learned during socialization; even if the norms and socialization process in the host country are different. As migrants adjust to the host county’s socialization process, there is convergence in the norms and values of the country of origin and that of the host country.
Cultural and socioeconomic conditions posit the differences between a migrant’s country of origin and host country of destination in terms of fertility preferences. From the view of household micro economies, there is a shift in the cost benefit calculation of having an additional child in the host country (Becker, 1998). Thus, migrants’ adjustment to a desired number of children might change both in the short and long run due to the social, economic, and cultural conditions in the host country (Kulu, 2005; Milewski, 2007).
Today, in the developing countries; there is a huge rise in poverty and hunger, lack of basic infrastructure and health care facilities which now are great threats to human lives; leading to the huge migration rate from the west African sub-regions. According to Malthus, subsidizing (which could be a form of indirect earns such as free housing, free healthcare services, social welfare payments, free education for children, and other public services) for the poor will lead to an increase in fertility rate. The key modern reference on fertility as an economic decision is (Becker 1960), that argues that children should be analyzed as durable consumption and production goods. Within the Becker’s framework, demands for children responds to changes in the cost of a marginal child. The effect of income changes on fertility has been a major debate in recent times; he asserts that the demand for an additional child is directly proportional to the level of income of the parents. In other words, the demand for an addition child is equal to the family subsidies available.
In addition to the fore going, Germany has been known to be a social welfare state and has given opportunities to migrants to benefit from such privileges. Immigrants are often perceived as a burden to public budget as they allegedly pay less tax; they consume goods and services provided by the Government. On the other hand, refugees and asylum seekers are non-contributors to government tax, they are solely dependent on and expend all necessary aids from the government.
Finally, the theories link migration with the legal status of the mother and her fertility desire. Fertility may increase shortly after migration because undocumented migrants want to obtain legal or economic benefits by giving birth (Bledsoe, 2004; Bledsoe et al., 2007). However, this theory only applies to specific contexts.
Sample size: The number of respondents were five (5) women in total. Two (2) unmarried and three (3) married.
The data collected were done by semi structured interview questionnaire. It was a face to face interview session with the respondents and audio recordings were also made.
Qualitative method was used by administering questionnaire which comprises of both structured and unstructured questions; which also made the respondents engage in a reflective exercise. Quantitative method was also used to describe the data collected in terms of percentages and frequencies to establish the statistical relationship between variables.
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