High Suburban Fertility: Evidence from Four Northern European Countries
This study examines fertility variation across different residential contexts in four Northern European countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. We move beyond the conventional urban-rural focus of most previous studies of within-nation variations in fertility by distinguishing between urban centres and suburbs of cities and towns. We base our study on aggregate and individual-level register data and our analysis shows that fertility levels are significantly higher in suburbs than in urban centres; this pattern has persisted over the past quarter of a century for all four countries. A parity-specific analysis of Swedish register data reveals that total fertility varies between central cities and suburbs due to the relatively high first- and second-birth propensities in the suburbs. Further analysis shows that fertility variation between the central cities and suburbs persists after controlling for womenâ€™s socioeconomic characteristics. We discuss the role of various factors in accounting for high suburban fertility including omitted individual characteristics, contextual factors and selective residential moves of couples planning to have a child.
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