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Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis. Daniel Devolder Centre of Demographic Studies Barcelona Autonomous University email: [email protected] Introduction

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Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

Daniel Devolder

Centre of Demographic Studies

Barcelona Autonomous University

email: [email protected]


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  • Introduction

  • Study of fertility trends in the last one hundred years, in European countries, with a focus on the last thirty years (during the so-called second demographic transition).

  • We want to show that it is indispensable to take account of parity in order to explain the changes of fertility in time.

  • In order to simplify a bit, we will restrict our analysis to first births on one hand, and all others births as a group on the other.

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis


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  • Crisis in fertility analysis

  • In the last decade, fertility analysis has switched from the cohort perspective championed by Ryder since the 1950s to the period approach defended by Rallu and Toulemon, Bongaarts and Feeney.

  • But the measure of period fertility intensity (or quantum) is in a state of complete disarray: we can now calculate it in more than ten different ways, with different results, but have no clear criterion to choose one of them.

  • This explain why in the present study we will use a mix of cohort and period approach, in a pragmatic way.

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis


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Ryder’s decomposition of fertility

We will use Norman Ryder’s methods as a guide for the decomposition of fertility into its components of change by parity.

First there is Ryder translation formulae that explain period total fertility (PF) as the product of cohort fertility quantum (CF, the cohort total fertility of women born approximately thirty years ago) by the changes in cohort fertility tempo (the variation in time of the cohort mean age at childbearing m).

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis


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Ryder’s formulae can be extended to take account of births by order, and more specifically, births of first order on one hand, and on other one, births of all other orders:

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis


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Ryder’s formulae can be extended to take account of births by order, and more specifically, births of first order on one hand, and on other one, births of all other orders:

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

p0->1 is the proportion of women who have at least one child (the complement to one of the proportion childless).

CF1+ is the cohort fertility of mothers, that is the number of children for women who have at least one child.


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Ryder’s formulae can be extended to take account of births by order, and more specifically, births of first order on one hand, and on other one, births of all other orders:

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

m1 is the cohort mean age at first childbearing.

I is the mean birth interval and k is the mean number of these intervals.


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If we begin by changes in by order, and more specifically, births of first order on one hand, and on other one, births of all other orders:tempo, we can say that the postponement of childbearing in Europe has been one of the most remarkable aspects of fertility evolution in recent times.

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

Evolution of cohort mean age at childbearing in Western European countries


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Postponement of fertility is in fact explained by the by order, and more specifically, births of first order on one hand, and on other one, births of all other orders:postponement of parenthood : recent changes in the age at childbearing are totally explained by changes in the age at first childbearing.

R2 is the determination coefficient between the cohort mean age at childbearing and the age at first childbearing.

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis


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The evolution of by order, and more specifically, births of first order on one hand, and on other one, births of all other orders:quantum

Childlessness is increasing in Europe, since the 1945 birth cohort...

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

Census

Civil Registration


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... the increase in childlessness is the main factor in the recent evolution of the quantum of cohort fertility in Europe...

(p0->1 is the complement to one of the proportion childless)

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

- - - - Census —— Civil registration

- - - - Census —— Civil registration


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... and the rise in childlessness hides the stability or the increase in the fertility of mothers

(p0->1 is the complement to one of the proportion childless)

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

- - - - Census —— Civil registration

- - - - Census —— Civil registration


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Components of variance of total cohort fertility: % of variance explained by the variations of childlessness and the fertility of mothers

I - Western Europe

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

First demographic transition and the baby boom

Second demographic transition


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Components of variance of total cohort fertility: % of variance explained by the variations of childlessness and the fertility of mothers

II – Southern and Northern Europe

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

First demographic transition and the baby boom

Second demographic transition


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Back to period fertility: The evolution of fertility of mothers in Europe in the last 40 years

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

Western Europe

Northern Europe

Southern Europe


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Period fertility of mothers in Central and Eastern Europe: the drop and the recovery in some countries during the 1990s

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis

Constant during the 1990s

Drop and recovery during the 1990s


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  • Conclusions the drop and the recovery in some countries during the 1990s

  • The changes in time of behaviours related to the decision to become a parent are now the principal factor in the explanation of the fertility trends in Europe in the last thirty years.

    • Variations in tempo are totally explained by the increase in the age at first childbearing.

    • Variations in quantum in countries with a high level of childlessness are dominated by the changes in fertility for the first birth order.

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis


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  • Conclusions the drop and the recovery in some countries during the 1990s

  • On the contrary the fertility of parents is almost stable since the 1970s, and it is probable it will not change much in the future, because its levels are very close to desired or planned fertility one.

  • The fertility will increase in the future in Europe only if childlessness decrease. This could happen if young adults change their life style and there is a reversal towards earlier fertility, and a decrease in the age at first childbearing, something difficult to envision now.

Fertility trends in Europe: parity analysis


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