Geographic Variation in Nordic Fertility Decline

Nicholas Campisi , University of St Andrews
Hill Kulu, University of St Andrews
Julia Mikolai, University of St Andrews
Mikko Myrskyla, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Fertility levels in Northern Europe have declined to the lowest levels in 100 years. Declines in cohort and period fertility since 2010 in the Nordic countries question existing understanding of Nordic fertility patterns. Recent research demonstrates convergence in fertility levels between socioeconomic groups but has omitted geographic perspectives of change, despite evidence that differences between geographies can be exponentially larger than differences between individuals. We contribute to the ongoing discussion of fertility decline using municipality-level data since 2010 for Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. We focus on differences in geographies and examine a variety of demographic, economic, sociocultural, and spatial contexts that may contribute to fertility variation between municipalities and during the period of decline. We use advanced spatial econometric analysis to demonstrate that fertility differences between geographies are related to certain demographic, economic, sociocultural, and spatial factors. We then go beyond traditional methods to identify how factors are related to changes within municipalities and how these relationships differ by urban and rural areas. We show that geographic convergence is not occurring as expected and, in some countries, a trend of divergence is evident. We find that housing, marriage-market, economic uncertainty, fertility in neighboring municipalities, and family value contexts are all related to differences in fertility levels between municipalities. Fertility declines within municipalities since 2010 are related to economic contexts for both urban and rural municipalities. However, some factors display patterns of relative importance and are more related to fertility declines in urban municipalities than rural and vice versa.

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 Presented in Session 130. Fertility over Time and Space