Monday, February 18, 2008

The Path to Lowest-low Fertility in Ukraine

The Path to Lowest-low Fertility in Ukraine
Brienna Perelli-Harris


The phenomenon of lowest-low fertility, defined as total fertility below 1.3, is now emerging throughout Europe and is attributed by many to postponement of the initiation of childbearing. Here an investigation of the case of Ukraine, where total fertility--1.1 in 2001--is one of the world’s lowest, shows that there is more than one pathway to lowest-low fertility. Although Ukraine has undergone immense political and economic transformations in the past decade, it has maintained a young age at first birth and nearly universal childbearing. Analyses of official national statistics and the Ukrainian Reproductive Health Survey show that fertility declined to very low levels without a transition to a later pattern of childbearing. Findings from focus-group interviews are used to suggest explanations of the early fertility pattern. These include the persistence of traditional norms for childbearing and the roles of men and women, concerns about medical complications and infertility at a later age, and the link between early fertility and early marriage.

Italian Fertility

Lowest-Low Fertility. Signs of a recovery in Italy?
M. Caltabiano, M. Castiglioni, A. Rosina
Italy is a country characterized by persistent very low fertility levels. A country’s fertility level is considered to be “very low” if it falls below 1.5 children per woman (Lesthaeghe and Willems, 1999). “Lowest low fertility,” on the other hand, was introduced by Kohler et al. (2002), in order to describe those cases in which the total period fertility rate (TFR) drops below 1.3. Lowest low fertility levels were recorded at a national level for the first time in Italy (and Spain) in 1992. Italy has now had a fertility level below 1.5 for over twenty years, and the last 15 years have seen levels near or below 1.3.

More specifically, Italy’s TFR dropped dramatically in the early 1990s and since then has not risen above 1.3 children per woman. In fact, the country reached a record low in the mid 1990s, recording a TFR of less than 1.2. Fertility rates since then have gradually increased (for the first time since the baby boom), up to today’s current fertility level of 1.33 children per woman (Istat, 2006).

The moderate yet significant increase in fertility in the last 10 years is further specified by diverse regional patterns. In the northern regions of Italy, period fertility has returned to the levels observed in the early 1980s, in large part due to an increasing number of babies born to immigrants, whose fertility is higher than native Italians. Overall, however, there has probably occurred a slight increase in native fertility as well, related to both new forms of family formation among the younger cohorts and to a recovery of postponed births among the older cohorts (today about 15% of births occur outside of wedlock, while about 10% of births are from immigrant parents).

In a number of southern regions, on the other hand, period fertility has continued to decline to very low levels (e.g. in 2005, TFR in Sardinia was at around 1.0). In other southern regions, period fertility levels have recently stabilized, although at levels much lower than those observed in early 1980s. Even if one considers cohort fertility, rather than looking at period measures, Italian fertility levels still result particularly low. According to the Council of Europe’s 2005 Demographic Yearbook, Italy has the lowest total cohort fertility rate (CTFR) in Europe (1.5 for the birth cohort 1965), and there is no indication that the decline in cohort fertility has come to a halt.

Analyses which take into account diverse trends in fertility levels across regions and social groups can reveal more detailed information. For example, recent studies indicate that the negative impact of level of education on fertility levels has begun to decrease. (Rosina 2004; Dalla Zuanna, Tanturri, in press). In the first part of our paper we present and discuss current developments with regard to fertility in Italy, both at the national and regional levels, using data recently published by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat, 2006).

We apply a cohort approach, showing changes both in CTFR and in the timing of births for the 1950-1980 cohorts. In the second part of our paper, we focus on “late first-birth fertility” (entry into motherhood after the age of 35), using individual level data from the 2003 Istat multipurpose survey on the family “Famiglia e soggetti sociali”. We investigate both the determinants of postponement (or the propensity to reach age 35 without having had a child) as well as the determinants of recovery (or the propensity to subsequently have a child for those women who reach age 35 with parity zero).

Italy’s path to very low fertility. The adequacy of economic and second demographic transition theories
David Kertzer, Michael White, Laura Bernardi, Giuseppe Gabrielli

The deep drop of the fertility rate in Italy to among the lowest in the world challenges contemporary theories of childbearing and family building. Among high income countries, Italy was presumed to have characteristics of family values and female labor force participation that would favor higher fertility than its European neighbors to the north. We test competing economic and cultural explanations, drawing on new nationally representative, longitudinal data to examine first union, first birth, and second birth. Our event history analysis finds some support for economic determinants of family formation and fertility, but the clear importance of regional differences and of secularization suggests that such an explanation is at best incomplete and that cultural and ideational factors must be considered.

Trends In Partnership Behaviour in Japan

Trends In Partnership Behaviour in Japan From The Cohort Perspective
Conference Paper from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Japan

Assumptions about the future age-specific fertility rates required for population projections can be obtained using the cohort fertility method. With this method, we predict the average completed family size of younger cohorts, based on the actual birth process of preceding cohorts. Since childbearing behaviour is affected by family formation and dissolution, it is essential to examine these processes for constructing and assessing the future fertility assumptions. Results we will show in this paper are based on the preliminary analyses for producing official population projections for Japan conducted by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (NIPSSR).

In this paper, we describe patterns of partnership formation and dissolution from the birth cohort perspective. Recognizing that declining exposure to marriage may place a strong structural restriction on childbearing, we then examine the extent to which these behavioural changes contribute to a fertility decline by cohort. In addition to marriage, divorce, bereavement and remarriage may also be significant factors for fertility.

Fertility assumptions for new population projections for Japan based on the 2005 census extremely low – in 2030, the medium variant TFR for Japanese women is assumed to be These prospects were led by drastic changes in the patterns of family formation and dissolution. Among the 1990 birth cohort, the mean age at first marriage is 28.2, the proportion never-married women at age 50 extends to 23.5%, and 36% of first-married women eventually experience divorce.

Counterfactual CTFRs with variant patterns of family formation and dissolution have allowed us to understand that over 70% of the CTFR decline is attributed to a decline in marriage rates, and if divorce behaviour has not changed since the 1955 birth cohort, CTFR will by 3% in the 1990 birth cohort.

Developed countries with relatively high fertility rates show relatively high levels of unmarried couples cohabiting and bearing children among the youth. The visibility of cohabitation and childbearing of unmarried couples is still low in Japan, but among the 1980s later birth cohorts, these new patterns of family formation have been increasing. Since these changes could lead to a rise in fertility rates for women in their 20s in the near future, we need to attention to these trends.

From the First to the Second Demographic Transition

From the First to the Second Demographic Transition: An Interpretation of the Spatial Continuity of Demographic Innovation in France, Belgium and Switzerland.


This article links spatial indicators of two demographic innovation waves to historical and contemporary covariates of both a socio-economic and a cultural nature. The two waves of innovation correspond respectively to the so called “first” and “second” demographic transitions (FDT, SDT). A connection is made between the emergence of spatial demographic patterns and A.J. Coale’s three preconditions for innovation, i.e. “readiness”, “willingness” and “ability” (RWA-model) and to the influence of networks in shaping relatively stable regional subcultures. Since the RWA-model is of the “bottleneck” type, it is expected that the slowest moving or most resistant condition will largely determine the spatial outcome of the two demographic transitions. In the instances of French départements, Belgian arrondissements and Swiss cantons clear statistical associations emerge between indicators of both FDT and SDT and cultural indicators. This suggests that the “willingness” condition, as reflected in regional subcultures, has been the dominant bottleneck in both waves of demographic innovation. The Swiss evidence is, however, weaker than that for France and Belgium despite the fact that, here too, associations are in the expected direction.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Third Birth Developments by Language in Turkey

Completing the fertility transition:Third birth developments by language
groups in Turkey
Sutay Yavuz


The purpose of the present study is to examine third birth dynamics by mother tongue group in Turkey, a country that has reached the advanced stage of its fertility transition. Third-birth intensities of Turkish speaking mothers are lower than Kurdish speaking mothers and the decline in fertility started much later for the latter group. Kurdish speaking women who cannot read and who live in more customary marriages have the highest third birth risk. We demonstrate that to understand contemporary fertility change in Turkey, it is necessary to consider a combination of individual socioeconomic and cultural factors.

Progression to third birth in Morocco in the context of fertility transition

Progression to third birth in Morocco in the context of fertility transition
Agata V. D’Addato


Progression from second to third birth is a critical reproductive decision in contemporary Morocco. The study thus aims at analyzing the main determinants of third-birth intensities, applying an event-history analysis to the most recent Moroccan survey data. Differences among social groups still persist in the country. Nevertheless, in the background of current modernization and geared to promote women’s status, all segments of the population are rapidly changing their fertility behavior. This applies even to the most laggard group, such as illiterate women. The analysis also shows no significant or clear evidence of sex preference among Moroccan mothers in the progression to the third child.

Intergenerational family ties and the diffusion of cohabitation in Italy

Intergenerational family ties and the diffusion of cohabitation in Italy
Paola Di Giulio and Alessandro Rosina


Cohabitation has been spreading in the population during the last thirty years, and this is one of the most striking aspects of wider social changes that have taken place throughout the industrialized world. However, this change did not take place uniformly across Europe. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the current debate around the compatibility of cohabitation experiences with the Italian cultural context. Using an individuallevel diffusion approach we obtain results that are consistent with the crucial role that family ties play in the choice of cohabitation in place of (or before) marriage.

Eastern Europe between emigration and immigration

Eastern Europe between emigration and immigration:causes, obstacles and implications of simultaneous migration flows

Artjoms Ivlevs


Despite relatively high emigration rates from countries that joined the EU in 2004, immigration pressures in Central and Eastern Europe are rising. This paper discusses the factors that influence simultaneous migration flows in the region, highlighting economic, demographic, transit and ethnic determinants. In particular, the “new” EU States are likely to receive increasing numbers of immigrants because of the rapid economic development resulting in labour shortages in such sectors as construction and services, rapidly aging populations and the attractiveness of the region for transit migrants from ex-Soviet Union countries. Using the case of Latvia, we also show that individual’s ethnicity may be an important determinant of both emigration intentions and immigration preferences. Ethnic minorities in Latvia who themselves are Russian speaking second and third generation immigrants, one the one hand, have higher probability of emigration and, on the other, are more pro-immigrant compared to ethnic Latvians.

The 2004 enlargement of the European Union (EU) has resulted in considerable outflows of labour from poorer regions of the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) in search of higher earnings in Western Europe. The issue is increasingly preoccupying both in migration receiving and sending countries. The populations of the former - “old” EU States - are worried about a possible negative impact of immigration on labour markets and welfare states, as well as problems related to the social and cultural integration of the new-comers. At the same time, immigrants in developed countries help coping with labour market shortages, thereby contributing to economic growth, and may alleviate population aging problems. On the contrary, in the “new” EU States, emigration of labour may hinder long-term economic growth and aggravate demographic situation, undermining the convergence to the living standards of the wealthy European economies. However, instantaneous benefits from higher earning possibilities for those who migrate and their families staying behind are substantial. Besides the traditional migration flows from the “new” to the “old” EU States, immigration pressures in Central and Eastern Europe are increasing. Almost all countries in the region are confronted with acute labour shortages in several sectors (in particular, services and construction). Shrinking labour force, both due to high emigration rates and natural decrease of the population, raises the question of how the sustainability of economic growth and pension.

High fertility Gambians in low fertility Spain

High fertility Gambians in low fertility Spain:The dynamics of child accumulation across transnational space
Caroline Bledsoe, René Houle and Papa Sow


Based on an analysis of the Spanish census and the January 1, 2005 municipal register and on exploratory fieldwork in Catalonia, this paper combines ethnography and demography, in conjunction with current Spanish reunification law, to examine the dynamics of what appears to be high fertility among Gambian immigrants living in Spain. We suggest that this high fertility rate reflects several things. One is the high costs of living in Spain for an unskilled, often-undocumented, but also relativelylongstanding SubSaharan group from a homeland with high rates of fertility: a homeland with which close ties remain vital for migrants in highly marginal conditions. Another is the replacement, in some cases, of older wives by younger ones from Africa, resulting in high rates of reproduction for short slices of time by a circulating pool of young women. We focus, however, on the role of Spanish and European policies themselves in shaping these numbers, particularly those policies that place restrictions on the free movement of people. We conclude that the most interesting demographic facet of this population may not be high fertility but rather the paradoxical dynamics of child accumulation in particular geographic regions as an artifact of Spanish law itself.

Meanings and attitudes attached to cohabitation in Poland

Meanings and attitudes attached to cohabitation in Poland:Qualitative analyses of the slow diffusion of cohabitation among the young generation
by Monika Mynarska and Laura Bernardi


This study contributes to the understanding of the low level of non-marital cohabitation in Poland at the beginning of the XXI century. We employ an interpretative analysis of semi-structured interviews in order to capture the meanings and attitudes associated to non-marital cohabitation by a selected sample of young Poles. The results indicate that although cohabitation has begun to be interpreted as a testing period leading to marriage, attitudes towards it are still very ambiguous. The idealization of marital commitment hinders the spread of informal unions. Understanding the determinants of low cohabitation in Poland enables us to advance grounded hypotheses on its evolution in the near future and, more generally, to illustrate the ways in which local culturesinfluence the diffusion of behaviors.

First union formation in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

First union formation in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania: Patterns across countries and gender
Kalev Katus, Allan Puur, Asta Põldma and Luule Sakkeus


This article examines the changes in first union formation in the Baltic countries between the late 1960s and early 1990s, in the context of societal and family-level gender relations. The analyses are conducted using microdata from the European Family and Fertility Surveys program. Our results indicate that in Estonia and Latvia the shift from direct marriage to cohabitation started well before the fall of socialist regime. Event-history models provide support for a hypothesised association between union formation and gender systems, with Lithuania showing more traditional features in both respects, possibly due to long-standing cultural differences between the countries.

The Effects of Education and Family Formation on Fertility in Ukraine

The Changing Effects of Education on Family Formation during a Period of Rapid Social Change

Brienna Perelli-Harris


This study demonstrates how broad societal-level change not only alters the composition of individual-level characteristics in a population, but also affects the relationship between mechanisms and behavior. Focusing on post-Soviet Ukraine, this paper examines how massive economic, political, and social transformations changed individual-level childbearing decision-making. Specifically, I investigate how social change in Ukraine altered the effects of one institution – education - on the timing of first and second births and marriage. I find that whereas previously more highly educated women would have had higher first birth rates once school enrollment and marriage were controlled, after Independence women with higher education delayed childbearing. The rates of second births and marriage also declined after Independence. Explanations for the changing effects of education on family formation include the restructuring of theeducational system, shifting opportunity costs, and exposure to new ideas and values.

Migration and Union Dissolution in Russia

Migration and union dissolution in changing socio-economic context: The case of Russia
Magdalena Muszynska1 and Hill Kulu


Previous studies show that family migration is usually to the benefit of the man’s professional career and that it has a negative impact on the woman’s economic wellbeing and employment. This study extends previous research by examining the effect of family migration on union dissolution. We use the event-history data of two retrospective surveys from Russia and apply hazard regression. The analysis shows that couples who move frequently over long distances have a significantly higher risk of union dissolution than couples who do not move or move only once. Our further analysis reveals that the risk of disruption for frequent movers is high when the migrant woman has a job. Frequent migrants had a high risk of union dissolution during the Soviet period but they faced no such risk during the post-Soviet socio-economic transition. We argue that frequent moving increases union instability through a variety of mechanisms, the effect of which may vary across socio-economic contexts.

Migration and Fertility in Kyrgyzstan

Migration and first-time parenthood: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan
Lesia Nedoluzhko and Gunnar Andersson


This article investigates the reproductive behavior of young women and men in the post-Soviet Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, focusing on the link between migration and fertility. We employ event-history techniques to retrospective data from the ‘Marriage, Fertility, and Migration’ survey conducted in Northern Kyrgyzstan in 2005 to study patterns in first-time parenthood. We demonstrate the extent to which internal migration is related to family formation and to the patterns of becoming a parent after resettlement. We gain deeper insights into demographic behavior by considering information on factors such as the geographical destination of migration and retrospectively stated motives for reported moves. In addition, our study reveals clear ethno-cultural differences in the timing of entry into parenthood in Kyrgyzstan.

In Kyrgyzstan, between 1990 and 2005 total fertility decreased by some thirty percent. Nevertheless, together with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, it still remains a pronounced high-fertility country, with a Total Fertility Rate (TFR) in 2005 of around 2.6 children per woman, a feature that rather makes it belong to a group of countries that are in their very first demographic transition. There are differences in fertility among population subgroups, however. While the native Kyrgyz generally have a high fertility, the population of European origin has a fertility that is below replacement level. Significant differences in fertility also exist across regions and different types of settlements. The TFR is higher in rural areas than it is in urban areas: 2.9 versus 2.2.

Model 3 of Table 2 reveals that migration caused by marriage increases the first birth propensity past migration (which should come as no surprise) and that thi tendency entirely explains the elevated fertility that is observed during the first twoyears following migration (see Model 2).

Our analysis indicates that the ‘russified’ group of Asians is significantly different from the other two ethno-cultural groups of our study as concerns their first-birth behavior, thus the group does not occupy an intermediate position between the other two (see Table 2). They have the lowest risk of entry into parenthood: about 30 percent lower than among the ‘Europeans’ and 50 percent lower than among the ‘non-russified Asians’, i.e., they tend to exhibit a reproductive strategy that often entails postponed parenthood. An interaction between age and ethnicity (not shown; p-value = 0.009) reveals that the first-birth risks of Europeans peak at lower ages than for Asians. This finding contradicts the assumption (based on observed differences in total fertility) that early family formation dominates among Asians in general in Kyrgyzstan. However, the finding is supported by census data, these show that Russian women indeed have a lower age at first birth than the aggregated group of Kyrgyz women (23.4 versus 23.7 years). A similar pattern of persistently early entry into parenthood in a population with very low fertility has been observed for Ukraine (cf. Perelli-Harris 2005).

Similar general duration-specific effects of migration on first-birth fertility have been observed for many different types of migrants (cf. Andersson 2004, Toulemon and Mazuy 2004, Kulu 2006, Kulu and Vikat 2007). This suggests that there indeed are strong behavioral regularities in how people tend to locate their family-demographic vital events relative to that of a migration, with childbearing being much more common shortly after a migration than at preparation of such activity. It also calls for a critical stand to various accounts of high fertility of different groups of migrants: Crude statistics on elevated migrant fertility may be more likely to reflect the interrelation between migration and family formation than any real high-fertility behavior.