Economic uncertainty and family dynamics in Europe: introduction

Kreyenfeld, M. R., Andersson, G., Pailhé, A.

Demographic Research, 27:28, 835-852 (2012)



Background: Economic uncertainty has become an increasingly important factor in explanations of declining fertility and postponed family formation across Europe. Yet the micro-level evidence on this topic is still limited. Objective: This special collection of Demographic Research focuses on the issue of how economic and employment uncertainties relate to fertility and family dynamics in Europe. Methods: The collection is comprised of studies that explore how various dimensions of employment uncertainty, such as temporary working contracts and individual and aggregate unemployment, are related to the fertility and family formation of women and men across Europe. The studies cover Germany, the UK, France, Russia, Estonia, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and Israel. Results: The various micro-level studies that are assembled in this special collection do not provide a simple answer to the question of whether and how economic uncertainty suppresses (or stimulates) fertility. However, some systematic variation by welfare state regime is discernable. Conclusions: Given the recent economic volatility in Europe, we expect that labor market uncertainties will remain an important component of explanations of fertility developments in the 21st century.