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Is Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe Explained by the Postponement of Childbearing?

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  • Tomás Sobotka

Abstract

In 2001, more than half of Europe's population lived in countries with a total fertility rate (TFR) at or below 1.3. Use of the adjusted TFR proposed by Bongaarts and Feeney, which takes into account the effects of the ongoing fertility postponement, changes the European fertility map considerably. All 27 countries analyzed had adjusted TFRs in 1995-2000 above 1.4. Thus, the "lowest-low" fertility in Europe may be interpreted as a temporary consequence of the increasing age at motherhood. However, substantial regional differences in fertility level across Europe persist even when the differential pace of fertility postponement is taken into account. The estimated adjusted TFRs in Europe (1.63) and in the 25-member European Union (1.71) contrast with the TFR levels of 1.40 and 1.46, respectively. These seemingly small differences have vastly different implications in terms of the potential long-term pace of population decline. Copyright 2004 The Population Council, Inc..

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  • Tomás Sobotka, 2004. "Is Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe Explained by the Postponement of Childbearing?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(2), pages 195-220.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:30:y:2004:i:2:p:195-220
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