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The Netherlands: Childbearing within the context of a "Poldermodel" society


  • Tineke Fokkema

    (Nederlands Interdisciplinair Demografisch Instituut (NIDI))

  • Helga A.G. De Valk

    (Nederlands Interdisciplinair Demografisch Instituut (NIDI))

  • Joop de Beer

    (Nederlands Interdisciplinair Demografisch Instituut (NIDI))

  • Coen van Duin

    (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS))


The Netherlands has seen a considerable decline of the period total fertility rate and delayed childbearing, just like all other European countries. The drop in fertility, however, has not been as sharp as in many other regions of Europe. The period total fertility rate in the Netherlands has stabilized since the late 1970s at around 1.6 children per woman, and it has even risen slightly since 1995. In addition, although the Netherlands has one of the oldest first-time mothers, completed fertility is still rather high compared to other European countries, suggesting a strong “catching up” of births by women in their thirties. This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of the main driving forces behind specific fertility trends in the Netherlands. Among other factors, it focuses on changing patterns of home leaving and union formation, declining partnership stability, and the growing acceptability and use of contraception. The chapter also looks at prolonged education, rising labor-force participation of women, economic uncertainties, the growing migrant population, and family policies. Data allowing, and to the extent possible, we examine the effects of these factors on decision-making about parenthood and the timing of childbearing.

Suggested Citation

  • Tineke Fokkema & Helga A.G. De Valk & Joop de Beer & Coen van Duin, 2008. "The Netherlands: Childbearing within the context of a "Poldermodel" society," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(21), pages 743-794, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:19:y:2008:i:21

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Isabella Buber-Ennser & Alexia Fürnkranz-Prskawetz, 2000. "Fertility in second unions in Austria," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(2), July.
    2. Frans Poppel & Joop Beer, 1993. "Measuring the effect of changing legislation on the frequency of divorce: The Netherlands, 1830–1990," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(3), pages 425-441, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Isabella Buber-Ennser & Ralina Panova & Jürgen Dorbritz, 2013. "Fertility Intentions Of University Graduates," Demográfia English Edition, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute, vol. 56(5), pages 5-34.
    2. Maria Rita Testa & Stuart Basten, 2012. "Have Lifetime Fertility Intentions Declined During the “Great Recession”?," VID Working Papers 1209, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.
    3. Tomáš Sobotka, 2008. "Overview Chapter 7: The rising importance of migrants for childbearing in Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(9), pages 225-248, July.
    4. Maria Rita Testa & Stuart Gietel-Basten, 2014. "Certainty of meeting fertility intentions declines in Europe during the 'Great Recession'," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(23), pages 687-734, September.
    5. Monika Mynarska & Anna Matysiak, 2010. "Diffusion of cohabitation in Poland," Working Papers 19, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
    6. repec:dem:demres:v:36:y:2017:i:51 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Anna Matysiak, 2009. "Is Poland really 'immune' to the spread of cohabitation?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 21(8), pages 215-234, August.
    8. Marloes Lange & Maarten Wolbers & Maurice Gesthuizen & Wout Ultee, 2014. "The Impact of Macro- and Micro-Economic Uncertainty on Family Formation in The Netherlands," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(2), pages 161-185, May.
    9. Tomáš Sobotka & Laurent Toulemon, 2008. "Overview Chapter 4: Changing family and partnership behaviour," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(6), pages 85-138, July.

    More about this item


    childbearing; Europe; fertility; Netherlands;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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