Family formation processes in Eastern and Western Germany. How important are regionally diverse values?

Katrin Schiefer, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany
Robert Naderi, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany

Even 20 years after German reunification, there are still major differences to be found in demographic trends and developments in Eastern and Western Germany. Remarkably, the TFR is almost the same in both German regions but taking a closer look one will discover that different explanatory factors are at work here. Childlessness is an almost exclusive Western German phenomenon while one-child-families are a major trend in the Eastern part. In the West, having a first child is postponed further in the life course than in the East. Similarly diverse patterns can be found when looking at relationships. Cohabitation, for example, is much more common in Eastern Germany and thus children are more often born in such constellations. We assume that family formation processes, namely the formation and institutionalisation of a relationship as well as the birth of children, show different patterns in Eastern and Western Germany because diverse family-related leitbilder have been established within society. By leitbilder we mean sets of collectively shared and pictured conceptions of guiding role models that are widely spread, socially expected and/or personally desired. Leitbilder may refer to family issues, such as the “perfect” timing when to have children (process-related aspects) or the “ideal” order of events. We test our hypothesis by applying different multivariate models which include our leitbilder as well as individual socio-economic characteristics. The place of socialisation is also included into our models. Our analyses are based on the survey about family-related leitbilder conducted by the German Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB) in 2012. The survey includes 5000 respondents between 20 and 39 years.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2