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Syntyvyyteen vaikuttavat tekijät

Vikat, A.
Factors influencing fertility
In: Kautto, M. (Ed.): Influencing demographic trends – should the birth rate and immigration be increased?, 20–30
Publications of the Prime Minister’s Office 31/2004
Helsinki, Prime Minister’s Office (2004)


The article provides a brief overview of the most important theoretical approaches to explain fertility in the context of contemporary developed countries. It adopts the view that the emergence of an all-encompassing theory of fertility is unlikely and that the different theoretical perspectives have to be seen as complementing each other. A large part of fertility research has been guided by economic theories – notably the New Home Economics that addresses the costs and opportunity costs of children in the household, and the theory of relative income that attempts to integrate people’s preferences into the economic model. Sociological and social psychological studies have lead to the conceptual interpretation and theorizing about the values of children of certain birth order. The thesis of the second demographic transition considers value change in a society in a broader meaning, linking the trends towards more individualism and less institutional control with low fertility and new forms of living arrangements, and emphasizing the importance of the context of self-fulfilling contraception. The central theory of demographic development, the demographic transition theory, initially assumed that after transition to the modern regime of population reproduction, fertility would stabilize around the replacement level. However, fertility trends in the majority of developed countries over the last few decades do not support this. By contrast, the economic, cultural and institutional contexts in Southern Europe and the Central and Eastern Europe have lead to a very low fertility level, labelled as the lowest-low fertility. Countries, in which family policies aim at reconciling work and family life, have succeeded in keeping their fertility above the lowest-low level. The effects of any particular policy means on fertility are highly context-specific and difficult to distinguish from the effects of other developments in the society.
Schlagwörter: Europa, fertility determinants, theory
Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.