Volume 36 - Article 17 | Pages 525–556  

The quality of periodic fertility measures in EU-SILC

By Angela Greulich, Aurélien Dasré

Abstract

Background: The European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) are increasingly used in demographic analysis, due to their large country coverage, the availability of harmonized socioeconomic measures, and the possibility to merge partners. However, so far there exists no comprehensive analysis of the representativeness of the fertility behavior reported by EU-SILC.

Objective: This paper quantifies the quality of periodic fertility measures in EU-SILC.

Methods: We compare periodic fertility measures obtained with EU-SILC to unbiased measures from the Human Fertility Database (HFD) for several European countries, by applying a cross-sectional perspective.

Results: We show that EU-SILC measures of periodic fertility are biased downward, mainly due to attrition, while births of order one for ages 20‒29 are particularly underreported. However, we find no evidence of socioeconomic differentials in attrition.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that for the majority of European countries, EU-SILC can be used for the analysis of childbearing behavior when respecting the measures of precaution mentioned in this article.

Contribution: These precautions contain, for example, applying a retrospective approach and differentiating by rotation groups when calculating aggregate measures of periodic fertility.

Author's Affiliation

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