Journal Article

Fertility progression in Germany: an analysis using flexible nonparametric cure survival models

Bremhorst, V., Kreyenfeld, M. R., Lambert, P.
Demographic Research, 35:18, 505–534 (2016)


This paper uses data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) to study the transition to second and third births. In particular, we seek to distinguish the factors that determine the timing of fertility from the factors that influence ultimate parity progression.

We employ cure survival models, a technique commonly used in epidemiological studies and in the statistical literature but only rarely applied to fertility research.

We find that education has a different impact on the timing and the ultimate probability of having a second and a third birth. Furthermore, we show that the shape of the fertility schedule for the total population differs from that of ‘susceptible women’ (i.e., those who have a second or a third child).

Standard event history models conflate timing and quantum effects. Our approach overcomes this shortcoming. It estimates separate parameters for the hazard rate of having a next child for the ‘susceptible population’ and the ultimate probability of having another child for the entire population at risk.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.