High fertility in city suburbs: compositional or contextual effects?
Fertility rates are known to be higher in city suburbs. One interpretation is that the suburban ‘context’ influences the behaviour of individuals who reside there while an alternative is that the ‘composition’ of the suburban population explains the higher fertility levels. Furthermore, suburban in-migrants who intend to have children may have a significant influence on suburban fertility rates. Using Finnish longitudinal register data we show that fertility rates are higher in the suburbs and rural areas and lower in the cities. While fertility variation across these residential contexts decreases significantly after controlling for women’s demographic and socio-economic characteristics, it does not disappear entirely suggesting that the local context may have some influence on fertility. While movers to suburbs do display higher fertility levels than non-migrant residents, their overall impact is not great because they form a small share of the suburban population.
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