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

  • Karel Neels
  • David De Wachter
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    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.

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    Article provided by Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna in its journal Vienna Yearbook of Population Research.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 77-106

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    Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:8:y:2010:i:1:p:77-106
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    1. Anne Gauthier, 2007. "The impact of family policies on fertility in industrialized countries: a review of the literature," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 323-346, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
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