MPIDR Working Paper

Family formation in times of social and economic change: an analysis of the 1971 East German cohort

Huinink, J., Kreyenfeld, M. R.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2004-013, 35 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (April 2004)
Open Access


The birth cohort 1971 entered transition to adulthood at the onset of societal transformation in East Germany. Their marriage and fertility behavior therefore was expected to be severely affected by the upheavals following unification. And indeed, compared to their predecessors, there is a drastic increase in the age at marriage, age at first birth and a decline in second birth risks. In this paper, we adopt a life course perspective to investigate the factors that have contributed to the postponement of family formation after unification. The empirical analysis suggests that highly educated women in particular are postponing fertility. Women with a relatively low education, by contrast, are accelerating family formation. Contrary to standard views on East German fertility, we do not find evidence for the hypothesis that unemployment generally lead to a postponement of first birth.
Keywords: Germany, fertility
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.