Fertility in Finland in the Coming Decades

Jessica Nisén , University of Turku
Julia Hellstrand, University of Helsinki
Pekka Martikainen, University of Helsinki
Mikko Myrskylä, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Finland has experienced an unexpected and rapid period fertility decline since 2010. Recent declines in period fertility have also been witnessed in other typically high fertility Nordic countries. This study aimed at 1) forecasting period total fertility (TFR) in the next two decades and 2) discussing factors likely to affect the development TFR in this period. Given the recent unexpected changes in age-specific fertility, i.e. reversal of long-term increases in age groups above 30, we base our forecast on minimum assumptions about past trends. Instead we assessed the uncertainty of fertility staying at the current level based on two alternative scenarios. Our primary scenario was based on a demographically reasonable assumption that the ongoing fertility postponement would gradually slow down and end by 2040. A secondary scenario was based on a technical assumption that future age-specific fertility would stay constant. We built a probabilistic, random-walk based model around both assumptions. In our primary scenario, the average TFR in the period 2019–2040 would with a 95 % confidence be between 1.42 and 1.67, with a mean of 1.54 children. We view this scenario as a reasonable for Finland in the near future. We identify developments in gender equality and family policies, economic cycles and economic uncertainty, as well as factors related to childbearing ideals and partner markets among central factors likely to influence the course of fertility in Finland in the coming decades. However, it remains challenging to evaluate their relative importance in shaping the future fertility.

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