Fertility and nuptiality in transformation: comparing Poland and Estonia 1989-2005

Ewa Fratczak, Warsaw School of Economics
Kamil Sienkiewicz, Warsaw School of Economics
Aneta Ptak-Chmielewska, Warsaw School of Economics
Kalev Katus, Estonian Interuniversity Population Research Centre
Allan Puur, Estonian Interuniversity Population Research Centre
Asta Põldma, Estonian Interuniversity Population Research Centre

The paper addressed the developments in fertility and nuptiality in two Baltic Sea countries - Poland and Estonia - since 1990. As in other countries that were sealed off by the Cold War, this period has been characterised by an extensive transformation in demographic regime that was established since the disappearance of the European marriage pattern. The analysis is structured in two main parts. The first part focuses on fertility, by means of the Bongaarts-Feeney formula, the authors consider the role of tempo and quantum effects in the observed in period fertility. The second part addresses changes in family formation and dissolution. In both parts, Poland and Estonia are compared to other European countries and recent developments are viewed in the context of long-term trends. Aside common features, the results indicate noticeable differences in the recent demographic patterns. The main findings concerning the diversity can be summarised in two points. The first point relates to the tempo of changes. In Estonia the changes since 1990 followed a noticeably steeper trajectory with the drop of fertility to bottom levels in 7-8 years after the onset of transformation. After reaching the lowest point, however, fertility and marriage rates started to recuperate; according to recent statistics they have increased by 15-20% since the late 1990s. In Poland, the changes have spread over a longer period. Although the decrease has slowed down, the data do not yet reveal any significant recuperation. The second point concerns the link between fertility and nuptiality. While Estonia belongs to the countries with the disconnection of reproduction from marriage and the spread of pre-marital cohabitation most advanced, Poland still features a relatively strong attachment of childbearing to registered marriage. The concluding part of the paper briefly speculates over the reasons that may underlie the emerging diversity.

Presented in Poster Session 1