Was falling fertility in the communist Poland driven by changes in women’s education?
During the communist period, Poland experienced an educational revolution: millions of people moved up from primary to lower- und upper-secondary education. At the same time, completed fertility dropped substantially from 2.48 in the 1932 cohort to 2.22 for women born in 1962. This article studies the relationship between education and completed fertility among women born between 1932 and 1962 and tries to assess to what extent the fertility decline was connected to changes in women’s educational structure. For the analyses I use data from the Fertility Survey 2002 that accompanied the Polish population census. Applying the Cho and Retherford’s decomposition I decompose the change in the cohort-completed fertility rate into three terms that account for changes in: female educational structure, standardised completed fertility and standardised age-specific fertility. The results suggest that the decline in completed fertility was entirely due to changes in the educational structure. The standardised fertility actually increased, especially among women aged between 20 and 29.
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