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High fertility in city suburbs: compositional or contextual effects?


  • Hill Kulu

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

  • Paul J. Boyle

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


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hill Kulu & Paul J. Boyle, 2007. "High fertility in city suburbs: compositional or contextual effects?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2007-034, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2007-034

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francesco C. Billari & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2002. "Patterns of lowest-low fertility in Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-040, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    3. Laura Bernardi & Andreas Klärner & Holger von der Lippe, 2006. "Perceptions of job instability and the prospects of parenthood. A comparison between Eastern and Western Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Francesco C. Billari & Chris Wilson, 2001. "Convergence towards diversity? Cohort dynamics in the transition to adulthood in contemporary Western Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-039, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. repec:cai:poeine:pope_202_0301 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2005. "Economic uncertainty and fertility postponement: evidence from German panel data," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-034, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Finland; event history analysis; fertility; migration; residential mobility; rural areas; suburban areas; urban areas;

    JEL classification:

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

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