Is low fertility in the Czech Republic an inevitable outcome of the new reproductive pattern?

Anna Stastna, Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (RILSA)
Jirina Kocourkov√°, Charles University in Prague

Between 2003 and 2008 the Czech population experienced a surge in TFR from 1.18 to 1.5 children per a woman. Currently, there is a sign that recent stagnation in fertility level (2009-2010) and slight decline of TFR to 1.42 in 2011 could be replaced by a stronger decline back to lowest-low level. Fertility trends coincided strikingly with improvement in state support for families up to 2007 followed by reduction in financial incentives to families. GGS panel data acquired in 2005, 2008, and 2013 for women in reproductive age are used to investigate to which extent the adopted measures could have influenced both the fertility intentions and reproductive behaviour of the Czechs. The aim of the paper is to upgrade the policy-oriented knowledge on the factors that drive positive changes in fertility by helping people to realise their childbearing intentions. The prospects for a resumption of lowest-low fertility as a result of both the economic crisis and reduction in state support for families with children will be discussed. Low fertility (TFR below 1.5) seems to be current destination for the Czech Republic and for most of other Central and Eastern European countries. Only Estonia and Slovenia reached TFR above 1.5 as of 2008 and despite economic recession both countries continued to register TFR above 1.5 until 2011. It could be assumed that recent fertility developments tend to support the low fertility trap hypothesis and the claim that it is difficult for a country to bring fertility above 1.5 once it has already fallen to levels of 1.3 or lower. We want to compare fertility trends in the Czech Republic with those registered in Slovenia and Estonia and find out whether improvement of state support for families should be seriously taken into account.

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Presented in Poster Session 2