Volume 38 - Article 56 | Pages 1699–1732
Background: During the 20th century the Czech Republic went through profound changes in female employment, gender roles, population and family policies, and public childcare. The educational structure of the female population changed tremendously. At the same time, completed cohort fertility fluctuated between 1.8 and 2.2 children per woman.
Objective: This article analyses the changes in the level of completed cohort fertility by education, during educational expansion in the Czech population under the economic, cultural, and institutional background of the state socialist regime, and after its breakdown.
Methods: The changes in the level of completed cohort fertility by education are analysed by means of decomposition, complemented by the analysis of parity composition.
Results: During the 20th century, education-specific completed cohort fertility increased, rather than declined. Fertility levels converged upwards, contributing to high uniformity within educational categories. The overall changes in fertility levels were driven by changes in the educational structure. These trends resulted in the dominance of the two-child family, while large families were disappearing and childlessness dropped to the biological minimum.
Conclusions: An egalitarian economic system with traditional family-friendly policies, in combination with a family-unfriendly labour market, developed into a male breadwinner model of low gender equity. Future family policies should focus on the reconciliation of work and family.
Contribution: The study contributes to the discussion on links between education and fertility, adding a new picture to the mosaic of country-level analyses. The Czech Republic is an example of a country with high educational homogeneity of fertility behaviour where the education-specific levels of fertility converged upwards.
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