Stockholm university

Eleonora MussinoResearcher, Docent

About me

Eleonora Mussino is a Docent at the Stockholm University Demography Unit (SUDA). She studies the interrelation between the demographic behaviors and the determinants of integration among migrants in Italy and Sweden.


Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Introduction to the Thematic Series: Use and consequences of family policies among migrants and their descendants in Europe

    2023. Eleonora Mussino, Elisabeth Kraus, Nadja Milewski. Genus 79 (1)


    This article is the introduction to the Thematic Series Use and consequences of family policies among migrants and their descendants in Europe. The study contexts are countries in different Western European regions: Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy. Despite their differences with respect to welfare-state types in general and family policies in particular, these countries also vary when it comes to their immigration histories and current migrant populations. Yet, the fast-growing field of research on the effects of family polices on family and fertility behavior as well as work-family reconciliation has virtually overlooked migrants. To address this void in the existing literature, this Thematic Series raises two research questions: To what degree do family policies include, and are used by, migrants and their descendants? And, to what extent do such polices promote migrants’ integration into European societies? The collection contains six empirical articles investigating either eligibility or use and consequences of two specific family policy measures: parental leave and external childcare. Collectively, the studies show significant disadvantages among migrant groups in eligibility for family policy measures, and consequently in their use and impacts on further life-course patterns, compared to majority populations. They also demonstrate diverging patterns within migrant populations.

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  • Natives' and migrants' employment uncertainty and childbearing during the great recession: a comparison between Italy and Sweden

    2023. Giammarco Alderotti, Eleonora Mussino, Chiara Ludovica Comolli. European Societies 25 (4), 539-573


    This study contributes to the empirical research on the fertility decline registered in Europe in the aftermath of the Great Recession adopting a comparative perspective. We explore childbearing behavior during the crisis across three dimensions of vulnerability: migration background (measured as: country of origin and length of stay in the destination country), labor market uncertainty, and country of residence. We compare childbearing behavior by parity among native and migrant women with different employment statuses in Sweden and Italy. Using the Swedish population registers and the Italian Labor Force Survey, we investigate the change in childbearing probabilities between the pre-crisis (2006–2009) and the years following the onset of the crisis (2010–2015). We find that the chances of motherhood in the aftermath of the Great Recession decreased substantially among recently arrived migrant women, but also among unemployed natives and women with unstable careers. The migration and labor market vulnerabilities, however, do not accumulate: unemployment and career instability negatively affect only native women’s probability of motherhood. Finally, the country comparison demonstrates that while the duration of stay and the weaker labor market attachment reduces the chances of motherhood in both contexts, the negative effect of unemployment is particularly strong in Italy.

    Read more about Natives' and migrants' employment uncertainty and childbearing during the great recession
  • How does the age of the youngest child affect parental survival?

    2023. Sven Drefahl, Eleonora Mussino. Genus 79


    Previous research has investigated several different aspects of the relationship between having a child and parental mortality. One aspect of research that has been neglected until now is the age of the child. If children have an effect on parental mortality, this is likely to change as they grow up. We apply hazard regression models to longitudinal Swedish register data of the total population for men and women separately. Adjusting for a variety of control variables, we find that parents with younger children experience a substantive mortality advantage compared to parents—of the same age—who have older children. The mortality advantage decreases gradually as the age of the youngest child increases. Robustness checks confirm that this result cannot be explained by differences in the parent’s age and parental age at first birth. Childless women and men of the same age experience the highest mortality. Additional models for different causes of death suggest that selection, behavioral changes, and unobserved protective effects contribute to this pattern.

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  • COVID-19 mortality across occupations and secondary risks for elderly individuals in the household: A population register-based study

    2022. Sunnee Billingsley (et al.). Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 48 (1), 52-60


    Objectives This is the first population-level study to examine inequalities in COVID-19 mortality according to working-age individuals' occupations and the indirect occupational effects on COVID-19 mortality of older individuals who live with them.

    Methods We used early-release data for the entire population of Sweden of all recorded COVID-19 deaths from 12 March 2020 to 23 February 2021, which we linked to administrative registers and occupational measures. Cox proportional hazard models assessed relative risks of COVID-19 mortality for the working-aged population registered in an occupation in December 2018 and the older population who lived with them.

    Results Among working aged-adults, taxi/bus drivers had the highest relative risk of COVID-19 mortality: over four times that of skilled workers in IT, economics, or administration when adjusted only for basic demographic characteristics. After adjusting for socioeconomic factors (education, income and country of birth), there are no occupational groups with clearly elevated (statistically significant) COVID-19 mortality. Neither a measure of exposure within occupations nor the share that generally can work from home were related to working-aged adults' risk of COVID-19 mortality. Instead of occupational factors, traditional socioeconomic risk factors best explained variation in COVID-19 mortality. Elderly individuals, however, faced higher COVID-19 mortality risk both when living with a delivery or postal worker or worker(s) in occupations that generally work from home less, even when their socioeconomic factors are taken into account.

    Conclusions Inequalities in COVID-19 mortality of working-aged adults were mostly based on traditional risk factors and not on occupational divisions or characteristics in Sweden. However, older individuals living with those who likely cannot work from home or work in delivery or postal services were a vulnerable group.

    Read more about COVID-19 mortality across occupations and secondary risks for elderly individuals in the household
  • Influences of origin and destination on migrant fertility in Europe

    2022. Eleonora Mussino, Stefano Cantalini. Population, Space and Place 28 (7)


    The current study examines the quantum of childbearing of migrants from low-fertility contexts (Poland and Romania) at multiple destinations (Italy and the United Kingdom), and compares them to stayers at origin and to nonmigrants at destination, combining the multiorigin/multidestination approach with the 'context-of-origin' perspective. Using data from the Labour Force Surveys (2009-2015) and adopting a gender and a couple perspective, we show that Polish and Romanian women have fewer children than nonmigrants at destinations. Romanian migrant women and men have a fertility similar to that of stayers at the origin, especially in United Kingdom, suggesting a socialization pattern for this group. Our findings also suggest the presence of the disruption mechanism for migrants, mainly in the short term, combined with a 'catch-up' in the long run explained by family reunification, primarily in Italy. However, the 'catch-up' over time of residence is found to be slower compared to previous studies. Finally, we find selection into migration and into different destination play an important role.

    Read more about Influences of origin and destination on migrant fertility in Europe
  • How Assad changed population growth in Sweden and Norway

    2021. Marianne Tønnessen, Siddartha Aradhya, Eleonora Mussino. PLOS ONE 16 (1)


    In an increasingly interconnected world, the demographic effects of wars are not confined only to war zones and neighbouring areas; wars and conflicts may also change populations far away. Without the war in Syria under President Assad and the associated mass exodus of Syrian refugees, the population trends in distant countries like Sweden and Norway over the last few years would have been different. We create hypothetical scenarios of the population developments in Sweden and Norway without a war in Syria from 2011 onwards, where excess immigration due to the war and associated excess births are removed. The results indicate that population growth in 2016 would have been roughly 36% lower in Sweden and 26% lower in Norway without the Syrian war. The number of births in 2017 would have been about 3% lower in Sweden and 1% lower in Norway. One in ten municipalities would have had a population decline in 2016 instead of a population increase, and the largest immigrant group in Sweden by January 2019 would still be of Finnish origin.

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  • The Fertility of Immigrants From Low-Fertility Settings: Adaptation in the Quantum and Tempo of Childbearing?

    2021. Eleonora Mussino, Ben Wilson, Gunnar Andersson. Demography 58 (6), 2169-2191


    Immigrant women who have lived longer in a destination often have relatively low levels of fertility, which is sometimes taken as evidence of the adaptation of behavior. This evidence is almost exclusively based on studies of immigrants from high-fertility settings, while the fertility of immigrants from low-fertility settings has been largely overlooked. Research has also rarely studied the fertility of immigrants who migrated as children, despite the methodological advantages of applying such an approach. This study focuses on women who grew up in Sweden with a migration background from low-fertility origins. We expect that Sweden's welfare regime makes it easier for women to combine childbearing and working life, regardless of migration background, thereby facilitating an adaptation of fertility behavior toward that prevailing in Sweden. We find evidence of adaptation in terms of birth timing for at least half of the country-origin groups that we study, but very little evidence of adaptation in terms of completed fertility. Further, we find that, in comparison with ancestral Swedes, completed fertility differentials are larger for second-generation individuals than for immigrants who arrived during childhood. This is evidence against the notion of “straight-line” adaptation for immigrants and the children of immigrants who are born in Sweden.

    Read more about The Fertility of Immigrants From Low-Fertility Settings
  • Similar Negotiations over Childcare? A Comparative Study of Fathers' Parental Leave Use in Finland and Sweden

    2021. Ann-Zofie Duvander, Eleonora Mussino, Jussi Tervola. Societies 11 (3)


    Fathers' leave use is promoted in many countries, but so far with different success. Major explanations of different usage revolve around economic bargaining between parents and economic constraints in the household. By using extensive register data from 1999-2009 in Finland and Sweden, this study asks whether fathers' use of parental leave in the two countries is determined by the same socioeconomic characteristics on the individual and the household level once we control for sociodemographic factors. Striking similarities in what influences fathers' use of leave in the two contexts are found, even though leave is used at very different levels and the policy design differs remarkably. Generally, fathers with a similar income level to the mother use leave the most, but in high-income households the mother's higher income leads to the highest propensity of fathers' leave take-up. The results indicate that equal bargaining positions are associated with fathers' leave use but also that mothers' stronger position often facilitates fathers' leave. We conclude that the role of gendered bargaining positions should be studied in interaction with the level of resources in the household.

    Read more about Similar Negotiations over Childcare? A Comparative Study of Fathers' Parental Leave Use in Finland and Sweden
  • A population-based cohort study of socio-demographic risk factors for COVID-19 deaths in Sweden

    2020. Sven Drefahl (et al.). Nature Communications 11 (1)


    As global deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise, the world's governments, institutions, and agencies are still working toward an understanding of who is most at risk of death. In this study, data on all recorded COVID-19 deaths in Sweden up to May 7, 2020 are linked to high-quality and accurate individual-level background data from administrative registers of the total population. By means of individual-level survival analysis we demonstrate that being male, having less individual income, lower education, not being married all independently predict a higher risk of death from COVID-19 and from all other causes of death. Being an immigrant from a low- or middle-income country predicts higher risk of death from COVID-19 but not for all other causes of death. The main message of this work is that the interaction of the virus causing COVID-19 and its social environment exerts an unequal burden on the most disadvantaged members of society. Better understanding of who is at highest risk of death from COVID-19 is important for public health planning. Here, the authors demonstrate an unequal mortality burden associated with socially disadvantaged groups in Sweden.

    Read more about A population-based cohort study of socio-demographic risk factors for COVID-19 deaths in Sweden
  • Fertility patterns of migrants from low-fertility countries in Norway

    2020. Marianne Tønnessen, Eleonora Mussino. Demographic Research 42, 859-873


    BACKGROUND Most research on migrant fertility focuses on immigrants from high-fertility countries who have moved to countries with lower fertility. Little is known about the fertility of immigrant women from countries where fertility is lower than in the destination country. OBJECTIVE This study investigates fertility rates among women from low-fertility countries who have moved to a country where fertility is comparatively higher (Norway). METHODS Register data on immigrant women from Poland, Lithuania, and Germany are used to calculate total fertility rates by duration of stay and to explore differences between family migrants and women who migrate for other reasons, between women of different ages at arrival, and between those who emigrated again and those who remained in Norway. RESULTS Among immigrants from low-fertility countries, total fertility rates are elevated in the first years after migration. This is particularly true for women from Poland and Lithuania, who often arrive as family migrants and at peak fertility age (25 to 34 years). CONTRIBUTION The fertility among migrants from low-fertility settings is often highest right after migration, particularly if they arrive as family migrants. Women with nonfamily reasons for migration have a time lag between immigration and peak fertility. The results underscore the usefulness of taking reason for and age at migration into account when studying immigrant fertility.

    Read more about Fertility patterns of migrants from low-fertility countries in Norway
  • Over-coverage in population registers leads to bias in demographic estimates

    2019. Andrea Monti (et al.). Population Studies


    Estimating the number of individuals living in a country is an essential task for demographers. This study assesses the potential bias in estimating the size of different migrant populations due to over-coverage in population registers. Over-coverage-individuals registered but not living in a country-is an increasingly pressing phenomenon; however, there is no common understanding of how to deal with over-coverage in demographic research. This study examines different approaches to and improvements in over-coverage estimation using Swedish total population register data. We assess over-coverage levels across migrant groups, test how estimates of age-specific death and fertility rates are affected when adjusting for over-coverage, and examine whether over-coverage can explain part of the healthy migrant paradox. Our results confirm the existence of over-coverage and we find substantial changes in mortality and fertility rates, when adjusted, for people of migrating age. Accounting for over-coverage is particularly important for correctly estimating migrant fertility.

    Read more about Over-coverage in population registers leads to bias in demographic estimates
  • Use It or Save It? Migration Background and Parental Leave Uptake in Sweden

    2016. Eleonora Mussino, Ann-Zofie Duvander. European Journal of Population 32 (2), 189-210


    Sweden is a welfare state with a family policy that strongly emphasizes equality without distinction by place of birth or gender. In this study, we investigate the differences in uptake of parental leave between native and immigrant mothers, and the connection to labour-market attachment. Sweden represents a unique case study, not only because of the strong effort to combine work and family for all women and men, the high level of fertility and the large presence of immigrants in the country; it also enables a detailed and sophisticated analysis based on the high-quality data derived from its population registers. We find that immigrant mothers use more parental leave benefit the first year after their child's birth, but then fewer in the second year compared with native mothers. The differences diminish when labour-market activity is controlled for. Additionally, after a time in Sweden, immigrant mothers use leave more similarly to how native mothers do.

    Read more about Use It or Save It? Migration Background and Parental Leave Uptake in Sweden

Show all publications by Eleonora Mussino at Stockholm University