MPIDR Working Paper

New opportunities for comparative male fertility research: insights from a new data resource based on high-quality birth registers

Dudel, C., Klüsener, S.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2019-023, 57 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (November 2019)
Open Access


Obtaining cross-country comparative perspectives on male fertility has long been difficult, as male fertility is usually less well registered than female fertility. This paper presents analyses based on a new male fertility database providing data on more than 330 million live births. This new resource, made available in the Human Fertility Collection, allows for the first time a comparative perspective on male fertility in high-income countries using high-quality birth register data. Contrasting male and female fertility trends across 17 countries, we show that trends in disparities between male and female period fertility rates are driven to a large degree by the interplay of parental age and cohort size differences. For parental age differences at childbirth, we observe a tendency toward smaller disparities, except in Eastern Europe. This observation fits with expectations based on gender theories. However, variation across countries also seems to be driven by factors other than gender equality.


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.