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Small effects of selective migration and selective survival in retrospective studies of fertility


  • Gunnar Andersson

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Boris Sobolev


In this paper, we assess the accuracy of fertility estimates that are based on the retrospective information that can be derived from an existing cross-sectional population. Swedish population registers contain the information on childbearing of all people ever living in Sweden and thus allow us to avoid any problems of selectivity by virtue of survival or of out-migration when we estimate fertility measures for previous calendar periods. We calculate two types of fertility rates for each year in 1961-1999: (i) rates that are based on the population that were living in Sweden at the end of 1999 and (ii) rates that also include the information on people who had died or emigrated before the turn of the century. We find that the omission of information on emigrated and deceased individuals, as the situation would be in any demographic survey, most often have negligible effects on our fertility measures. However, first-birth rates of immigrants gradually become more biased as we move back in time from 1999 so that they increasingly tend to over-estimate the actual fertility of that population.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunnar Andersson & Boris Sobolev, 2001. "Small effects of selective migration and selective survival in retrospective studies of fertility," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-031, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2001-031

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Margaret E. Greene & Ann E. Biddlecom, 2000. "Absent and Problematic Men: Demographic Accounts of Male Reproductive Roles," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(1), pages 81-115.
    2. Gunnar Andersson, 2001. "Childbearing patterns of foreign-born women in Sweden," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-011, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gunnar Andersson & Kirk Scott, 2004. "Labour-market attachment and entry into parenthood: The experience of immigrant women in Sweden," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2004-011, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Gunnar Andersson & Marit Rønsen & Lisbeth B. Knudsen & Trude Lappegård & Gerda Neyer & Kari Skrede & Kathrin Teschner & Andres Vikat, 2009. "Cohort fertility patterns in the Nordic countries," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 20(14), pages 313-352, April.
    3. Jan M. Hoem, 2013. "The dangers of conditioning on the time of occurrence of one demographic process in the analysis of another," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-006, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

    More about this item


    Sweden; bias; fertility measurements; retrospective analysis;

    JEL classification:

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


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