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Postponement and recuperation of Belgian fertility: how are they related to rising female educational attainment?

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  • Karel Neels
  • David De Wachter

Abstract

Fertility trends in Europe after 1970 are routinely referred to in terms of the postponement of fertility. The shortening of the effective reproductive lifespan and its association with post-materialist values have raised questions as to whether fertility can or will be recuperated. Decomposition of cohort fertility in Belgium by level of education shows that the postponement of fertility after 1970 is closely related to the expansion of education: compared with cohorts born in 1946-1950, 40 to 50 per cent of the difference in cumulated fertility at age 25 in the 1951-1975 birth cohorts is attributable to rising educational levels. Educational differentials also prove relevant with regard to the recuperation of fertility at older ages as the tempo and quantum of order-specific fertility have responded differently to variations in the economic and policy context, depending on the educational level considered. Differential fertility trends by level of education have thus attenuated the relationship between female educational attainment and completed fertility in recent cohorts.

Suggested Citation

  • Karel Neels & David De Wachter, 2010. "Postponement and recuperation of Belgian fertility: how are they related to rising female educational attainment?," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 8(1), pages 77-106.
  • Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:8:y:2010:i:1:p:77-106
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005.
    3. Anne Gauthier, 2007. "The impact of family policies on fertility in industrialized countries: a review of the literature," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 26(3), pages 323-346, June.
    4. Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2000. "Educational attainment and first births: East Germany before and after unification," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2000-011, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Gerda Neyer & Gunnar Andersson, 2008. "Consequences of Family Policies on Childbearing Behavior: Effects or Artifacts?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(4), pages 699-724.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Klesment & Allan Puur & Leen Rahnu & Luule Sakkeus, 2014. "Varying association between education and second births in Europe," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(27), pages 813-860, October.
    2. Jonas Wood & Sebastian Klüsener & Karel Neels & Mikko Myrskylä, 2017. "Is a positive link between human development and fertility attainable? Insights from the Belgian vanguard case," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Ann Berrington & Juliet Stone & Éva Beaujouan, 2015. "Educational differences in timing and quantum of childbearing in Britain," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 33(26), pages 733-764, October.
    4. repec:dem:demres:v:36:y:2017:i:47 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Zuzanna Brzozowska, 2014. "Fertility and education in Poland during state socialism," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(12), pages 319-336, July.
    6. Zsolt Spéder & Tamás Bartus, 2017. "Educational Enrolment, Double-Status Positions and the Transition to Motherhood in Hungary," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 33(1), pages 55-85, February.
    7. Jonas Wood & Karel Neels & Jorik Vergauwen, 2016. "Economic and Institutional Context and Second Births in Seven European Countries," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(3), pages 305-325, June.
    8. Zuzanna Brzozowska, 2015. "Intergenerational educational mobility and completed fertility," IBS Working Papers 1/2015, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.

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