Has East Germany overtaken West Germany? Recent trends in order-specific fertility

Goldstein, J. R., Kreyenfeld, M. R.

Population and Development Review, 37:3, 453-472 (2011)


Schlagworte: Germany, fertility


Some 20 years after reunification, the contrast between East and West Germany offers a natural experiment for studying the degree of persistence of Communist-era family patterns, the effects of economic change, and fertility postponement. After reunification, period fertility rates plummeted in the former East Germany to record low levels. Since the mid-1990s, however, period fertility rates have been rising in East Germany, in contrast to the nearly constant rates seen in the West. By 2008, the TFR of East Germany had overtaken that of the West. We explore why fertility in East Germany is higher than in West Germany, despite unfavorable economic circumstances in the East. We address this and related questions by (a) presenting an account of the persisting East/West differences in attitudes toward and constraints on childbearing, (b) conducting an order-specific fertility analysis of recent fertility trends, and (c) projecting completed fertility for the recent East and west German cohorts. In addition to using the Human Fertility Database, perinatal statistics allow us to calculate a tempo-corrected TFR for East and West Germany.