MPIDR Working Paper

The German Birth Order Register - order-specific data generated from perinatal statistics and statistics on out-of-hospital births 2001-2008

Kreyenfeld, M. R., Scholz, R. D., Peters, F., Wlosnewski, I.

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2010-010, 36 Seiten (Februar 2010).
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

Revised March 2010

Schlagworte: Germany, fertility


Until 2008, Germany’s vital statistics did not include information on the biological order of each birth. This resulted in a dearth of important demographic indicators, such as the mean age at first birth and the level of childlessness. Researchers have tried to fill this gap by generating order-specific birth rates from survey data, and by combining survey data with vital statistics. This paper takes a different approach by using hospital statistics on births to generate birth order-specific fertility rates for the period 2001 to 2008. Hospital statistics include information on births that took place in German hospitals. Out-of-hospital deliveries, which account for about two percent of all births, are not included in the hospital data. In a sensitivity analysis, we show how robust our estimates are to the inclusion of out-of-hospital births. Our general assessment is that the hospital data are a valuable source for generating order-specific fertility rates, regardless of whether out-of-hospital births are included.