Recent Marriage and Childbearing Trends in Croatia

Vera Graovac Matassi , University of Zadar

For the last 28 years Croatia has been faced with constant natural decrease, which, coupled with long-term emigration, has led to intensive depopulation. In that period, there have been significant changes regarding the childbearing and marriage patterns. The paper provides an overview of childbearing and marriage trends in Croatia since the mid-1980s, and discusses the observed changes in relation to the socio-economic and political changes. The results indicate that has been a significant decrease in the number of births since mid-1980s, and the beginning of the 21st century was marked by unprecedentedly low number of births. Unlike in many other European countries, childbearing in Croatia is still closely connected to marriage, as the share of extramarital births has been relatively low. Changes in women’s educational and employment aspirations prompted changes in timing of childbearing and the number of children. Consequently, today, most of the babies are born to mothers aged 30–34, while in mid-1980 most of them were born to mothers aged 20–24. Additionally, the recent economic recession, which has lasted since 2009, prompted the “baby recession”.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course