Volume 19 - Article 3 | Pages 15-46

Overview Chapter 1: Fertility in Europe: Diverse, delayed and below replacement

By Tomas Frejka, Tomas Sobotka

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Date received:23 Apr 2007
Date published:01 Jul 2008
Word count:7337
Keywords:childbearing, Europe, fertility
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2008.19.3
Weblink:You will find all publications in this Special Collection “Childbearing Trends and Policies in Europe” at http://www.demographic-research.org/special/7/
 

Abstract

Early in the 21st century, three-quarters of Europe’s population lived in countries with fertility considerably below replacement. This general conclusion is arrived at irrespective of whether period or cohort fertility measures are used. In Western and Northern Europe, fertility quantum was slightly below replacement. In Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, fertility quantum as measured by the period total fertility rate (TFR) and its tempo-adjusted version was markedly below replacement; in many countries it was around 1.5, and in some populations it was as low as 1.3 to 1.4 births per woman. Throughout Europe, a historic transformation of childbearing patterns characterised by a pronounced delay of entry into parenthood has been taking place. This secular trend towards later childbearing has greatly contributed to the decline and fluctuations in period fertility rates. Delayed births were being recuperated, especially among childless women, but the extent of recuperation differs by country and region. All in all, despite a recent upward trend in the period TFR, European fertility early in the 21st century was at its lowest point since the Second World War.

Author's Affiliation

Tomas Frejka - Independent researcher, International [Email]
Tomas Sobotka - Vienna Institute of Demography, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria [Email]

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» Austria: Persistent low fertility since the mid-1980s
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» Overview Chapter 7: The rising importance of migrants for childbearing in Europe
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» Overview Chapter 6: The diverse faces of the Second Demographic Transition in Europe
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» Overview Chapter 5: Determinants of family formation and childbearing during the societal transition in Central and Eastern Europe
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» Overview Chapter 4: Changing family and partnership behaviour: Common trends and persistent diversity across Europe
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» Overview Chapter 3: Birth regulation in Europe: Completing the contraceptive revolution
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» Overview Chapter 2: Parity distribution and completed family size in Europe: Incipient decline of the two-child family model
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» Summary and general conclusions: Childbearing Trends and Policies in Europe
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» Cohort birth order, parity progression ratio and parity distribution trends in developed countries
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» First birth trends in developed countries: Persisting parenthood postponement
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» Tempo-quantum and period-cohort interplay in fertility changes in Europe: Evidence from the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden
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