Volume 20 - Article 14 | Pages 313–352  

Cohort fertility patterns in the Nordic countries

By Gunnar Andersson, Marit Rønsen, Lisbeth B. Knudsen, Trude Lappegård, Gerda Neyer, Kari Skrede, Kathrin Teschner, Andres Vikat

Abstract

Previous analyses of period fertility suggest that the trends of the Nordic countries are sufficiently similar that we may speak of a common "Nordic fertility regime". We investigate whether this assumption can be corroborated by comparing cohort fertility patterns in the Nordic countries. We study cumulated and completed fertility of Nordic birth cohorts based on the childbearing histories of women born in 1935 and later derived from the population registers of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. We further explore childbearing behaviour by women’s educational attainment. The results show remarkable similarities in postponement and recuperation between the countries. Median childbearing age is about two to three years higher in the 1960−64 cohort than in the 1950−54 cohort, but the younger cohort recuperates the fertility level of the older cohort at ages 30 and above. A similar pattern of recuperation can be observed for highly educated women compared to women with less education, resulting in small differences in completed fertility across educational groups. Another interesting finding is that of a positive relationship between educational level and the final number of children when women who become mothers at similar ages are compared. Despite some differences in the levels of childlessness, country differences in fertility outcome are generally small. The cohort analyses thus support the notion of a common Nordic fertility regime.

Author's Affiliation

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