Cohort fertility of immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union

Gustavo Schifris, Barbara S. Okun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND The political and economic change accompanying the collapse of the Soviet Union triggered a large wave of immigrants to Israel during the 1990s. These immigrants arrived from low-fertility contexts to a higher-fertility society. OBJECTIVE We consider how the fertility of cohorts of diverse immigrant women from a low fertility context shifts in the context of high fertility. METHODS We examine completed fertility, parity distributions, and age at first birth of immigrant women compared to native-born Jewish women. Data taken from the Israel Population Register and from Israel Social Surveys are examined by birth cohort, religion, and religiosity. RESULTS We document increases in completed fertility, proportions at final parity 3, age at first birth, and rapid reductions in proportions at final parity 1, across birth cohorts of immigrants who arrived between their early 20s and their early 30s. Rates of change slowed across cohorts of immigrants who arrived between ages 10–21. Relative to comparisons between all Jewish immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and all nativeborn Jews, there is much closer convergence between secular immigrants and the secular native-born in terms of completed fertility, but substantially less convergence in terms of age at first birth. We also describe strikingly different patterns of change among immigrants who are not classified as Jewish. CONTRIBUTION Patterns of immigrant convergence in fertility patterns vis-à-vis native-born groups differ markedly by religion and religiosity. Our findings highlight the importance of explicitly considering heterogeneity among immigrant and native-born groups.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)377-392
Number of pages16
JournalDemographic Research
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Gustavo Schifris & Barbara S. Okun.


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