Intentions, postponement and late fertility: Analyses of urban-rural differences

Bernhard Riederer , Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/OAW, Univ. Vienna)

Demographic research has repeatedly shown that fertility in Europe is lower in urban than in rural areas. These differences are usually explained by economic, cultural and compositional factors (as well as selective migration). Most analyses focus on annual fertility rates, some on cohort fertility. With my research, I want to add to this literature by analysing fertility intentions, postponement and late fertility - and by addressing the explanatory power of competing theoretical explanations. This presentation summarizes the main conclusions of three studies discussing regional differences in fertility: Study 1, co-authored by Isabella Buber-Ennser, analyses urban-rural differences in fertility intentions and their realisation in 11 European countries (based on individual level GGP data). Study 2 focuses on urban-rural differences in Austria among women born in 1984 (individual level register data). Longitudinal analyses provide insights in the timing of first births and catch-up processes of urban women. Finally, study 3, joint work with Éva Beaujouan, analyses differences in late fertility in Europe on NUTS 3 and NUTS 2 levels (multilevel random coefficient models employing aggregated Eurostat data). Although two studies are still work in progress, findings of all three studies confirm lower fertility in urban areas. Fertility intentions do not seem to differ between women in urban and rural contexts. However, a higher share of women in urban areas remains childless until their mid-thirties. Correspondingly, late fertility (35+) is higher in most European cities which is mainly explained by differences in female education and economic structure, but hardly by other factors.

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 Presented in Session P1. Postercafe