The Impact of First Birth Trends on Fertility in Developed Countries: A Cohort Analysis

Tomas Frejka, Independent consultant
Jean-Paul Sardon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

This investigation is part of a project analyzing childbearing trends and prospects in 35 advanced countries using the cohort method. The principal finding of the project: Childbearing was the lowest ever early in the 21st century and is not likely to increase in the foreseeable future. The present research aims to analyze in detail first births. For cohorts since the 1920s first birth fertility rates were stable; a general decline was under way among the 1960s birth cohorts; births were being postponed. In some countries (Finland, Austria, Slovakia), the rate was below 0.8 first births per woman. Among the cohorts born in the 1960s and 1970s first births declined among young women, apparently a continuation in birth postponement. Only rarely were all delayed births recuperated later in life. This also means an increase in childlessness. Among many repercussions: the pool of women to have higher order births is diminishing.

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Presented in Session 85: Lowest-low Fertility in Comparative Perspective