MPIDR Working Paper
Cohort birth order, parity progression ratio and parity distribution trends in developed countries
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2006-045, 40 pages.
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (November 2006)
Also published in: Demographic Research 16:11, 315-374 (2007).
This paper is the latest in a series initiated in 1999 which investigates childbearing in low fertility countries from a cohort perspective. Principal conclusions: Major changes in childbearing patterns are continuously taking place in almost all countries. Large families with four and more children have all but disappeared. Almost everywhere the two-child family became dominant. Proportions of childless women and of one-child families were increasing among recent cohorts. Childbearing postponement is a virtually universal process in contemporary low-fertility populations. In Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, starting with the 1960s cohorts, changes in age patterns of childbearing have been profound which justifies labeling these as an historic transformation. One indisputable characteristic is that young women are bearing considerably fewer children compared to older cohorts. In particular, the proportions of women having second births in most CEE countries were declining rapidly and these proportions were lower than in western countries. Postponement of childbearing might be nearing cessation in some western countries.