MPIDR Working Paper

High fertility in city suburbs: compositional or contextual effects?

Kulu, H., Boyle, P. J.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2007-034, 25 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (November 2007)
Open Access


Fertility rates are known to be higher in city suburbs. One interpretation is that the suburban ‘context’ influences the behaviour of individuals who reside there while an alternative is that the ‘composition’ of the suburban population explains the higher fertility levels. Furthermore, suburban in-migrants who intend to have children may have a significant influence on suburban fertility rates. Using Finnish longitudinal register data we show that fertility rates are higher in the suburbs and rural areas and lower in the cities. While fertility variation across these residential contexts decreases significantly after controlling for women’s demographic and socio-economic characteristics, it does not disappear entirely suggesting that the local context may have some influence on fertility. While movers to suburbs do display higher fertility levels than non-migrant residents, their overall impact is not great because they form a small share of the suburban population.
Keywords: Finland, event history analysis, fertility, migration, residential mobility, rural areas, suburban areas, urban areas
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.