Population Association of America Annual Meeting
31 March–2 April 2011
"Demographic explanations for the recent rise in Europe's fertility"
John Bongaarts and Tomas Sobotka
In 1998–2008 European countries experienced the first continent-wide increase in the period TFR since the 1960s. After a discussion of period and cohort influences on fertility fluctuations the paper examines the role of tempo distortions of period fertility and different methods for removing them. We highlight the usefulness of a new tempo-adjusted indicator, TFRP*, which is a variant of the Bongaarts-Feeney method based on parity-specific hazard rates. The TFRP* is not affected by short-term fluctuations typical of most other adjustment indicators. Finally, we estimate levels and trends in tempo distortions in selected countries in Europe. The first analysis, based on order-specific data from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden, shows that tempo-adjusted fertility as measured by TFRP* has remained nearly stable. Therefore, the recent upturns in fertility are largely explained by a decline in the pace of fertility postponement and the resulting reduction in tempo distortions.
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