MPIDR Working Paper

Transition of nuptiality and fertility onset in the Czech Republic since the 1990s: the role of women’s education and its expansion

Zeman, K.

MPIDR Working Paper WP-2007-017, 28 Seiten (April 2007).
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung


In this article we argue that social and economic changes in the past fifteen years have influenced distinct socio-economic categories of women differently. We show that the transition of family formation behaviours was not uniform but rather dependent on the educational level of women. We found wide differences between educational categories in terms of the changes in level, timing and sequencing of first birth and first marriage, using the techniques of nuptiality and fertility life tables and the hazard modelling of first marriage and first conception. Two different types of “trendsetters” were identified in Czech society. The trendsetters of non-marital fertility are women with primary education, who tend to be lone mothers or to cohabit even after childbirth. The second group of trendsetters are more highly educated women, who postpone their fertility onset until their 30s, but who still place their first childbirth traditionally inside marriage. The number of possible reasons for the family formation transition is manifold, ranging from the changing economic roles of women through actual setting of family policy to the post-modern value change, all further reinforced by educational expansion since the 1990s. There is no general explanation of the transitional behaviour, as women of different education levels are reacting differently to the social and economic changes.