Fertility recuperation throughout the 1990s: a study among Belgian women of the 1960-65 birth cohorts who postponed fertility to a considerable extent

David De Wachter, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Like most Western-European countries, Belgium faced a substantial decline of period total fertility rates over the last few decades, together with a general shift toward late childbearing. Using data from the 1991 census, reconstruction of cohort fertility profiles suggests that the postponement of childbearing was especially pronounced among the 1960-65 female birth cohorts, resulting in a substantial drop of fertility rates under the age of 25 years. This in turn raised the question whether this development would result in further postponement of fertility –with full recuperation at older ages- or would lead to further reductions in completed fertility. The present study sheds light on this issue by investigating the determinants behind the fertility recuperation of the 1960-65 female birth cohorts. Data are drawn from the 1991 and 2001 census. Event-history analyses will be carried out to study the effects of socio-economic factors in 1991 on first, second and third birth hazards. It is expected that educational attainment and labour force participation primarily affect the transition to a lower order birth. However, third births may be influenced by additional factors that are not common fare in most demographic studies. In this respect, the complex relationship between housing characteristics and fertility behaviour will be explored. In short, the determinants behind the fertility recuperation will be studied for those cohorts of women who constituted the hallmark of the fertility postponement in Belgium.

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Presented in Poster Session 1