Journal Article

Regional fertility differences in Western Germany: an overview of the literature and recent descriptive findings.

Hank, K.
International Journal of Population Geography, 7:4, 243–257 (2001)


In the years following German unification, researchers´ attention has been attracted mainly by the rapid fertility decline in eastern Germany. This has often resulted in neglect of regional fertility differentials within Germany, which reach much further back in time than those currently observed between the old and the new Länder of the Federal Republic. This paper provides an overview of studies investigating regional fertility differences in post-war western Germany. Additionally, results of an analysis of official statistics for western German Kreise (districts) in the period 1995-97 are presented. Geographical patterns of high- and low-fertility areas are detected, which have remained basically unchanged by the general fertility decline of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Consistent with findings from earlier studies, population density, family migration and the local occupational structure are still found to be closely associated with regional total fertility rates in the 1990s. The paper concludes with a call for more multilevel studies that -theoretically as well as empirically -link regional social contexts with individual (reproductive) behaviour. ( © 2001 JOHN WILEY & SONS, LTD.)
Keywords: Germany, fertility, geography
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