Fertility of Female Filipino and Indonesian Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
Tim F. Liao
November 7, 2022
The relationship between migrant workers’ migratory moves and their fertility is complex. The literature on international migration contains three main explanations of the relationship—the disruption hypothesis, the adaptation hypothesis, and the selectivity hypothesis. The research reported in the literature has so far focused on international migrants, many of whom have the prospect of becoming legal immigrants, while there is little research on the relation between migration and fertility for Southeast Asian labor migrants who are on employment contracts and cannot gain permanent residency. Of the three hypotheses, only the disruption hypothesis is relevant for temporary migrant workers, yet its findings have been mixed. This research note aims to fill in the gap by focusing on the disruption hypothesis in an examination of Filipina and Indonesian migrant domestic workers’ migration and fertility trajectories, using the 2017 survey of Filipina and Indonesian migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. The findings from the analysis suggest a disruptive effect of migration on fertility for the women in their earlier reproductive years from both Indonesia and the Philippines but not for the women in their later childbearing ages, thus shedding light on the divergent disruptive mechanism of migration on fertility.