East Germany overtakes West Germany: recent trends in order-specific fertility dynamics
Some 20 years after unification, the contrast between East and West Germany provides a unique natural experiment for studying the persistence of communist-era family patterns, the effects of economic change, and the complexities of the process of fertility postponement. After unification, fertility rates plummeted in the former East Germany to record low levels. The number of births per year fell 60 percent. The period total fertility rate (TFR) reached a low of 0.8. Since the middle of the 1990s, however, period fertility rates have been rising in East Germany, in contrast to the nearly constant rates seen in the West. By 2008, the TFR of East Germany had overtaken that of the West. In this paper, we explore why fertility in the East is higher than in West Germany, despite the severe economic situation in the East, whether the East German TFR will increase even further in the future, and whether the West German rate will remain at the constantly low level that has prevailed since the 1970s. This article seeks to shed some light on these questions by (a) giving an account of the persisting East-West differences in attitudes towards and constraints on childbearing, (b) conducting an order-specific fertility analysis of recent fertility trends, and (c) projecting completed fertility for the recent East and West German cohorts. In addition to using the Human Fertility Database, we draw upon Perinatal Statistics, which enable us to conduct an order-specific fertility analysis. This new data source allows us to calculate a tempo-corrected TFR for East and West Germany, which has not been available previously.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Heike Trappe & Annemette Sørensen, 2005. "Economic Relations between Women and Their Partners: An East-West-German Comparison after Reunification," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 544, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Karl Brenke & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009.
"Ostdeutschland 20 Jahre nach dem Mauerfall: was war und was ist heute mit der Wirtschaft?,"
Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research,
DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 78(2), pages 32-62.
- Brenke, Karl & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Ostdeutschland 20 Jahre nach dem Mauerfall: Was war und was ist heute mit der Wirtschaft?," IZA Standpunkte 20, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Ron Lesthaeghe & Paul Willems, 1999. "Is Low Fertility a Temporary Phenomenon in the European Union?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(2), pages 211-228. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2010-033. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Wilhelm)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.