MPIDR Working Paper
Patterns of twinning for Swedish women, 1961-1999
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2002-031, 24 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (July 2002)
The Nordic population registers provide a unique possibility to study the demographic behavior of small population groups and rare events. In this paper, we study the childbearing behavior of Swedish mothers of twins between 1961 and 1999, inclusive. The twinning rate has increased since the mid-1970s in response to a growing use of fertility-stimulating treatments such as in-vitro fertilization. Such medical procedures are applied mainly to women beyond prime childbearing ages. Nevertheless, we find no simple age pattern in twinning rates. They do not just increase with the woman´s age. Our most consistent finding is that mothers of twins wait noticeably longer than women with singletons before they have another child. This apart, mothers with twins at their first birth have next-birth fertility patterns very similar to women who have two singletons at their first two births. This commonality in childbearing behavior does not extend to higher-order births, though. For mothers with a singleton and a pair of twins, the progression to a third birth depends very much on whether the twins came first or second. We also discover that at parities beyond 3, twinning rates increase with parity, especially at very short durations since the previous birth.
Keywords: vital events