Abstract Trends in first childbirth

1 Introduction

In recent decades fertility in Norway has gone through several significant changes. A simple way of measuring fertility levels and trends is to calculate period Total Fertility Rates (TFR) by summing age-specific fertility rates for each year of interest. Measured in this manner (Figure 1), Norway's TFR peaked around 1965 at almost 3.0 and then declined until around 1975.

    Figure 1:
    Total fertility rate 1950-1998

While fertility has fallen to unprecedented low levels in many industrialised countries since the 1980s, Norway has experienced a rise in fertility since that time. At the beginning of the 1990s the total fertility rate stabilised at not far below replacement level. The TFR is, however, too crude a measure of fertility to give accurate information about important features of childbearing trends. Behind TFR there can be substantial differences in fertility patterns, for example in timing the birth of the first child.

Analyses in this paper provide a review of recent fertility trends in Norway and intend to describe the changes in the pattern of fertility and family formation that have taken place in Norway in recent decades. The data for our analyses are derived from the maternity histories of complete female birth cohorts extracted from the Central Population Register in Norway. These biographies cover complete female birth cohorts after 1935 and immigrants arriving in the country after 1960 and through 1998. The paper is essentially descriptive and reports from work in progress. It does not intend to provide causal explanations or theoretical developments at this stage of analysis. However, through reflections on trends we will provide some indications and intimations on aspects that will be dealt with in future projects.


Abstract Trends in first childbirth

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New fertility trends in Norway
Trude Lappegård
© 2000 Max-Planck-Gesellschaft ISSN 1435-9871