Fertility decline and timing of births in Malta

Maja Miljanic Brinkworth, Ministry for Social Policy

In comparison to the other Southern European countries, Maltese TFR has reached below replacement levels at a much later stage. While in the mid- 90's Maltese TFR still stood at the replacement level, soon after it took a cliff dive, presently standing at low level of 1.4 children. The major contributing factors to posponement of marriage, subsequent postponement of first child and ultimately to a lower realised number of children per couple can be found in excessive housing costs borne by the first time buyers, prolonged tertiary education of female students, and relatively high unemployment rate of young workers. This research paper attempts: 1. to determine the trends in the timing of the first child as a consequence of the impacts made by the above mentioned factors, 2. to quantify the impacting of the timing of the first child on the timing and realisation of children of subsequent orders, using logistic regression, and 3. to analyse spacing of births. The research will make use of 1999-2006 National Obstetric Information System (NOIS) database on births, which is the only available database on births that, apart from age and nationality of mother, also includes details on educational characteristics, marital status and availability of support at home after birth. These characteristics will be included in the analysis in the context of the above aims. The envisaged difficulty in this research is a very short time series, as NOIS data collection commenced only in 1999. Also, the national standards regulating child-care centres have been issued only in 2006, therefore it would not be possible to analyse what kind of impact the availability of standard-regulated child-care centres, might have had on the spacing of children in case of the Maltese mothers.

  See paper

Presented in Session 81: Low Fertility in Southern Europe