"I always felt as the Odd One Out"- Minority status, education and reproduction. The case of the Hungarian Roma

Judit Durst, University College London

Earlier data from Hungary but also from other post-socialist, transitional countries point to the higher Fertility of Roma when compared to the majority population (Hablicsek, 2008, Kemeny-Janky, 2004, Kalibova, 2000). However, new researches suggested an education-by-ethnicity (minority status) interaction: higher fertility of Roma is confined to the less educated only (Durst, 2007, Husz, 2011). This result corresponds to the findings about the fertility differentials in the case of the black Americans compare to the Whites in the US, suggesting that minority status per se has an independent influence on reproductive behaviour –not only at the lowest but also at the highest level of educational attainment. So far there was no research about the highly educated Roma women’s fertility. Bridging this gap, I carried out a qualitative study, based on in- depth life history interviews among 50 Roma women with university or college degrees, and their partners/husbands if they were cohabiting. As a basis for comparison regarding the role of minority group identification in fertility behaviour, I also benefited from the experience of a qualitative demographic research which was carried out among 40, Non- Roma, highly educated women and their partners in Hungary (Repro Project [REPRO WP5]. One of the main findings is that minority status does have an effect on the reproductive strategies of highly educated Roma women:they have significantly fewer children than their non-Roma counterparts. However,minority status works through the interplay of many intermediate factors. Among others are the difficulty for the highly educated women to find a spouse, and the clash between their and their spouses' gender roles expectations. All these factors point to the same direction: delaying the first birth and in many cases not managing to realize the desired number of children.

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Presented in Poster Session 1