Fertility in formerly socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe: the role of family policies affecting childbearing

Tomas Frejka, Independent Consultant
Stuart A. Basten, University of Oxford

This is the second paper emanating from a collaborative project of scholars from 18 Central and East European (CEE) countries. The project aims to (a) describe and analyze fertility trends in the formerly socialist countries of CEE since the demise of communism around 1990; and (b) identify and analyze family policies and their impact on fertility in these countries. The first paper presented at the May 2014 Meeting of the Population Association of America concluded that period total fertility rates and completed cohort fertility rates, levels and trends, are becoming similar to those in Southern Europe and the German-speaking countries where fertility is among the lowest in the world; and that childbearing is being postponed which is reflected in major changes in fertility age patterns. Within the context of developing political, social and economic conditions, this second paper will provide an overview of the range of varying family policies in CEE countries. We will discuss the characteristics of the policies as well as the objectives, social and demographic, as they vary from one country to another. Also, the extent to which family policies have affected fertility to date will be evaluated. Finally, we will attempt to utilize the analysis to speculate whether CEE cohort fertility is likely to decline further, stabilize or increase in the foreseeable future.

  See paper

Presented in Session 71: Special thematic session on fertility transition: opportunities and threats