Volume 33 - Article 29 | Pages 841–870  

Reconstructing historical fertility change in Mongolia: Impressive fertility rise before continued fertility decline

By Thomas Spoorenberg


Background: To date, historical fertility change in Mongolia has been analyzed starting from the 1960s. It is generally accepted that the adoption of pro-natalist policies resulted in very high fertility levels during the 1960s and 1970s and that their relaxation in the mid-1970s contributed to the onset of fertility decline.

Objective: The objective of this paper is to reconstruct fertility levels and trends in Mongolia before the 1960s in order to offer an alternative view of the historical fertility change in the country.

Methods: Mobilizing a large set of data from different sources and applying diverse estimation techniques, a consistent reconstruction of nearly a century of fertility change in Mongolia is conducted. For the first time, fertility estimates before 1960 are introduced. The quality of these estimates is assessed through cross-comparison and prospective reconstruction of the country’s population.

Results: The different fertility estimates give a very consistent picture of historical fertility change in Mongolia, indicating that total fertility stagnated until the late 1940s and then increased by about 2.5 children per woman within 15 years. The population of Mongolia can be consistently reproduced assuming almost constant fertility between 1918 and 1956.

Conclusions: The improvement in health and living standards related to the establishment of a socialist society is the main factor explaining the variations in fertility before the 1960s in Mongolia. This study reinstates the importance of social and economic development in explaining fertility change in the country.

Comments: This study calls for demographers to reconstruct long-term population development in statistically less-developed countries to better understand the global process of fertility transition.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

The emergence of birth limitation as a new stage in the fertility transition in sub-Saharan Africa
Volume 42 - Article 30

Forty years of fertility changes in the Sahel
Volume 41 - Article 46

Fertility compression in Niger: A study of fertility change by parity (1977–2011)
Volume 39 - Article 24

On the masculinization of population: The contribution of demographic development -- A look at sex ratios in Sweden over 250 years
Volume 34 - Article 37

Is Buddhism the low fertility religion of Asia?
Volume 32 - Article 1

Reverse survival method of fertility estimation: An evaluation
Volume 31 - Article 9

Old age mortality in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia
Volume 29 - Article 38

What can we learn from indirect estimations on mortality in Mongolia, 1969-1989?
Volume 18 - Article 10

Similar articles in Demographic Research

A Bayesian model for the reconstruction of education- and age-specific fertility rates: An application to African and Latin American countries
Volume 49 - Article 31    | Keywords: age, Bayesian analysis, education, fertility estimation, fertility rates

Reverse survival method of fertility estimation: An evaluation
Volume 31 - Article 9    | Keywords: evaluation, fertility estimation, reverse survival method

Albania: Trends and patterns, proximate determinants and policies of fertility change
Volume 19 - Article 11    | Keywords: Albania, childbearing, Europe, fertility, fertility change

What can we learn from indirect estimations on mortality in Mongolia, 1969-1989?
Volume 18 - Article 10    | Keywords: census data, intercensal estimates, Mongolia, mortality measurement, mortality trends, socialist period

Kinship, family and social network: The anthropological embedment of fertility change in Southern Europe
Volume 3 - Article 13    | Keywords: anthropological demography, family patterns, fertility change, Mediterranean Europe, social networks

Cited References: 54

Download to Citation Manager

Article ID