MPIDR Working Paper

Declining fertility in Ukraine: what is the role of abortion and contraception?

Levchuk, N., Perelli-Harris, B.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2009-045, 46 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (December 2009)
Open Access


In this paper we analyze the changing relationship between childbearing and abortion in Ukraine, which has had one of the world’s highest abortion rates and lowest fertility rates. Using the 2007 Ukrainian Demographic and Health Survey, we examine changes in abortion before and after the dramatic fertility decline. We estimate event history models for first abortions as well as competing risks hazards by pregnancy outcome. Our results show that although abortion rates rapidly declined in the 1990s, abortions have impacted fertility by lowering second birth rates. On the other hand, abortions have been used less frequently for postponing first births, as is more common in developed countries. We also describe how this relationship has been maintained through the slow adoption of modern contraception. Thus, Ukraine represents a country with an unusual relationship between fertility, abortion, and contraception, and where low fertility has been achieved with little reliance on modern methods.
Keywords: Ukraine, abortion
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.