MPIDR Working Paper

Union formation and fertility in Bulgaria and Russia: a life table description of recent trends


The paper provides an extensive descriptive analysis and comparison of recent trends in union formation and fertility in Bulgaria and Russia. The analysis is based on data from the Generation and Gender Surveys (GGS) carried out in 2004. We generate a large number of single- and multi-decrement life tables describing various life course events: leaving home and separation from the parental family, entry into union, first and second childbirth, divorce. In addition, we provide information about the status of children within the family and changes in this status. Life tables are constructed for real cohorts as well as for synthetic cohorts. We study four real cohorts, born in 1940-44, 1950-54, 1960-64 and 1970-74. Synthetic-cohort life tables are constructed for three periods of time, referring to the pre-transitional demographic situation (1985-1989), the beginning of the transition (1990-1994) and recent demographic developments (1999-2003). We use the same approach of life table construction as Andersson and Philipov (2002), thus both studies complement each other and open wider opportunities for international comparison. Life tables are frequently supplemented with graphs of smoothed hazard curves. Complete life tables together with some summary indicators are presented in the Appendix. Our findings suggest that societal transformation had a stronger impact on the family-related behavior in the Bulgarian population than in the population of Russia. There is evidence that in some aspects Bulgaria is lagging behind other former socialist and Western European countries where the second demographic transition is more advanced. Evidence also suggests that Russia is lagging behind Bulgaria. However, certain specific features distinctive to Russia, such as the low level of childlessness and a drastic drop in second and subsequent births, lead us to think that Russia may have a model of change particular to the country.
Keywords: Bulgaria, Russian Federation, family formation, fertility, life tables
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.