Realizing Birth Intentions in European Comparison - Understanding Post-Communist Fertility Transition

Zsolt Speder, Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO)
Balázs Kapitány, Demographic Research Institute

The paper strives to broaden the understanding of fertility transition in post-communist countries, starting in the early 90s. A combination of selected theoretical approaches and a new kind of empirical analysis leads us to new conclusions. The use of longitudinal panel studies in comparing fertility intention and realization in four European countries enables us to demonstrate a very low level of realizing fertility intentions in post-communist countries and to highlight the importance of societal factors in explaining the gap between fertility intentions and their realization. Merton's theory of social action and anomie help to highlight the mismatch between the varying tempo of structural and cultural change that may explain the gap. The contrast between macro level postponement and individual action allow us to highlight a specific causation during the post communist fertility transition: macro level postponement of fertility seems to be partly a result of failures in realizing childbearing intentions.

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Presented in Poster Session 5