Cityward Migration and Urban Fertility in the Philippines

Hendershot, Gerry Ellsworth

     This study is an investigation of the nature and causes of fertility differences between migrants and native urbanites in Manila. It seeks to answer these questions: What differences exist between the fertility of migrants and natives in the city? What are the causes of those differences? Prior studies suggest three different theories of rural-urban migration and resulting migrant-native fertility differences: (1) the social disorganization theory or the social segregation theory, which predicts that migrant fertility will be as high as rural fertility . . . or higher, and thus much higher than the fertility of urban natives; (2) the assimilation theory, which predicts that migrant fertility will be lower than rural fertility, but still higher than the fertility of urban natives; and (3) the social mobility theory, which argues that the rural-urban migration process operates in such a manner as to select from the rural population a disproportionate number of persons with strong motivations for upward social mobility. . . . As a consequence, they are more likely than urban natives to value small family size, to approve of and use contraception, and to have low fertility. The prediction of this 'social mobility theory' is that migrants will have lower levels of fertility than urban natives.
     After introducing these theories and providing background material on Philippine society, the study analyzes the nature of migrant-native fertility differences in Manila. It shows that migrants in Manila have lower fertility than natives, a finding which suggests the social mobility theory may provide the best interpretation of the Philippine situation. That conclusion . . . [is] tested further in the next three chapters, which analyze the selectivity of migration to Manila from two rural communities; . . . the participation of migrants and natives in the life of Manila; . . . and the KAP (knowledge about, attitudes toward, and practice of contraception) of migrants and natives in Manila. The findings of these chapters . . . provide only partial support for the social mobility theory -- while migration is indeed selective of persons who might be expected to have high mobility aspirations, migrants do not participate more (nor less) than natives in urban life, nor do they accept family planning more frequently. The latter finding raises an interesting question: If migrants do not practice family planning any more frequently than natives, how do they achieve lower fertility? The study presents and analyzes a possible answer to that question -- postponement of marriage -- before summarizing the principal findings of the research and discussing their practical and theoretical implications.