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Demographic Patterns in Europe. A review of Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

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    Abstract

    Since the Second World War demographic behaviour has changed dramatically in the industrialised world. Marriage and fertility rates have declined substantially and total fertility rates have reached unprecedented low levels. All European countries (except Iceland and Turkey) now have fertility levels well below the replacement level. Divorce rates, non-marital cohabitation and extramarital fertility, on the other hand, have increased significantly, as has the age at first marriage and first birth. However, when and at which speed, these changes have occurred has varied greatly between different countries. The new pattern of development, genereally referred to as the "second demographic transition", appeared in Northern and Western Europe in the mid 1960s and then spread to the Southern countries, and more recently to the Eastern parts of Europe. In this overview I discuss the demographic development in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Estonia, Latvia , and Lithuania since the 1960s. The issues I focus on are: transition to adulthood (mainly the act of leaving parental home), partnership and fertility. I also present different explanations for the demographic changes. Some explanations deal with economic aspects such as the increased labour force participation and autonomy of women. Regarding the rapid demographic changes in the post-socialist states in Eastern Europe most explanations focus on the economic and social hardship following the collapse of the system. For Western Europe, cultural explanations such as values, secularisation and greater acceptance towards e.g. divorce and non-marital cohabitation, are used to a higher extent.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for Futures Studies in its series Arbetsrapport with number 2003:8.

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    Length: 65 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifswps:2003_008

    Note: ISBN 91-89655-37-0
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    Keywords: demographic patterns Europe; transition to adulthood; partnership; fertility;

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    1. Arnstein Aassve & Francesco C. Billari & Stefano Mazzuco & Fausta Ongaro, 2001. "Leaving Home Ain't Easy. A comparative longitudinal analysis of ECHP data," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-038, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    14. Lindh, Thomas & Malmberg, Bo, 2002. "Swedish post-war economic development. The role of age structure in a welfare state," Arbetsrapport 2003:4, Institute for Futures Studies.
    15. Malmberg, Bo & Sommestad, Lena, 2000. "Tunga trender i den globala utvecklingen," Arbetsrapport 2000:2, Institute for Futures Studies.
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