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East Germany overtakes West Germany: recent trends in order-specific fertility dynamics


Abstract and Figures

Some 20 years after unification, the contrast between East and West Germany provides a unique natural experiment for studying the persistence of communist-era family patterns, the effects of economic change, and the complexities of the process of fertility postponement. After unification, fertility rates plummeted in the former East Germany to record low levels. The number of births per year fell 60 percent. The period total fertility rate (TFR) reached a low of 0.8. Since the middle of the 1990s, however, period fertility rates have been rising in East Germany, in contrast to the nearly constant rates seen in the West. By 2008, the TFR of East Germany had overtaken that of the West. In this paper, we explore why fertility in the East is higher than in West Germany, despite the severe economic situation in the East, whether the East German TFR will increase even further in the future, and whether the West German rate will remain at the constantly low level that has prevailed since the 1970s. This article seeks to shed some light on these questions by (a) giving an account of the persisting East-West differences in attitudes towards and constraints on childbearing, (b) conducting an order-specific fertility analysis of recent fertility trends, and (c) projecting completed fertility for the recent East and West German cohorts. In addition to using the Human Fertility Database, we draw upon Perinatal Statistics, which enable us to conduct an order-specific fertility analysis. This new data source allows us to calculate a tempo-corrected TFR for East and West Germany, which has not been available previously.
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Joshua R. Goldstein (
Michaela Kreyenfeld (
East Germany Overtakes West Germany:
Recent Trends in Order-Speci c Fertility
Max-Planck-Institut für demogra sche Forschung
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Konrad-Zuse-Strasse 1 · D-18057 Rostock · GERMANY
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re ect those of the Institute.
East Germany Overtakes West Germany:
Recent Trends in Order-Specific Fertility Dynamics
Joshua R. Goldstein and Michaela Kreyenfeld
Abstract: Some 20 years after unification, the contrast between East and West Germany
provides a unique natural experiment for studying the persistence of communist-era
family patterns, the effects of economic change, and the complexities of the process of
fertility postponement. After unification, fertility rates plummeted in the former East
Germany to record low levels. The number of births per year fell 60 percent. The period
total fertility rate (TFR) reached a low of 0.8. Since the middle of the 1990s, however,
period fertility rates have been rising in East Germany, in contrast to the nearly constant
rates seen in the West. By 2008, the TFR of East Germany had overtaken that of the West.
In this paper, we explore why fertility in the East is higher than in West Germany, despite
the severe economic situation in the East, whether the East German TFR will increase
even further in the future, and whether the West German rate will remain at the constantly
low level that has prevailed since the 1970s. This article seeks to shed some light on these
questions by (a) giving an account of the persisting East-West differences in attitudes
towards and constraints on childbearing, (b) conducting an order-specific fertility analysis
of recent fertility trends, and (c) projecting completed fertility for the recent East and
West German cohorts. In addition to using the Human Fertility Database, we draw upon
Perinatal Statistics, which enable us to conduct an order-specific fertility analysis. This
new data source allows us to calculate a tempo-corrected TFR for East and West
Germany, which has not been available previously.
Keywords: Birth order, fertility, Germany, East and West Germany, cohort fertility
Correspondence address: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research; Konrad-Zuse-Straße 1;
D-18057 Rostock;;
The 20th century was a time of dramatic demographic changes. One of the most
remarkable developments in the latter half of the century was the demographic response
to the collapse of communism. In virtually all countries of the former Eastern Bloc,
fertility declined with the demise of the communist systems to unprecedented low levels
(Eberstadt 1994; Witte and Wagner 1995, Sobotka 2004; Frejka and Sobotka 2008;
Billingsley 2010). However, nowhere was the fertility response so drastic and abrupt as in
East Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall, which marks the end of the German
Democratic Republic (GDR), left its immediate imprint in the monthly fertility rates,
which declined almost exactly nine months thereafter. In 1992, the East German period
fertility rates finally reached a record low level of 0.8 children per woman. This probably
would have been the lowest TFR value that had ever been recorded for a country, if the
GDR had still been in existence.
With the unification of Germany in October 1990, the GDR ceased to be a country, and a
radical and swift transformation of East German society was initiated. The central
question for many researchers at that time was whether, and under what conditions, the
East German fertility rate would start to recover (Eberstadt 1994; Witte and Wagner 1996;
Conrad et al. 1996). The optimists in the research community predicted a swift
In this study, the term “West Germany” refers to the region that until 1990 belonged to the Federal
Republic of Germany. “East Germany” refers to the region that until 1990 belonged to the German
Democratic Republic. For the time after German unification, “western Germany” and “eastern
Germany” would probably be more appropriate terms for distinguishing the two parts of the country.
For the sake of readability, however, we use the terms “West Germany” and “East Germany” for the
periods both before and after 1990.
convergence of behavior, arguing that institutional constraints in the two parts of
Germany would converge as well. The pessimistic view pointed to the severe economic
conditions in the East, which were not projected to improve substantially in the
foreseeable future. If it is assumed that fertility rates respond to economic conditions, it
may be expected that East German fertility would remain permanently below West
German levels.
In 2008 −exactly 18 years after unification− the period total fertility rates of East and
West Germany had finally converged. In both parts of the country, the current TFR has
reached 1.4. Arguably, the fertility rates of both societies have met at a very low level.
However, the fact that East German period fertility has caught up with the West German
rate still has important implications. It suggests that East Germany has overcome the
“demographic shock” (Eberstadt 1994) that was diagnosed in the period after German
unification. It also suggests that, in terms of fertility behavior, the “two Germanies” have
finally reunited, signifying one step towards the social unification of the two formerly
separated countries.
However, we can also approach this fertility development from another perspective: East
German period fertility has been constantly rising in recent years, while the West German
rate seems to have frozen at a level of 1.4 children since the 1970s. What might look like
a convergence of behavior could actually be a cross-over; in the future, East Germany
may leave West Germany behind. If we disregard Berlin −which mainly belonged to West
Germany before unification− we can even conclude that East Germany has already
overtaken the West (Figure 1). It is really plausible that women are having more children
in the East than in the West despite the relatively poor economic conditions in the East?
Will the total fertility rate in both parts of the country move in tandem in the future? Or
can we expect that the East German TFR will increase even further in the future, while the
West German rate will remain at a constantly low level, as it has since the 1970s?
Given the complexity of the period TFR, these seemingly simple questions are rather
difficult to answer. Ideally, the TFR is a measure for the total number of children a
woman bears over her lifetime. Being a period measure, it is, however, seriously distorted
by changes in the ages at which women have their children (Ni Bhrolchain 1992;
Bongaarts and Feeney 1998). Additionally, it is an indicator that summarizes fertility
across all birth orders. Both aspects −namely, differences in the timing of birth and
differences in the order-specific behavior− are important for understanding fertility
dynamics in contemporary societies. Prior studies have revealed that East and West
Germans differ considerably in the ages at which they have their first child. In addition,
differences in transition rates to second- and third-order births have been reported
(Kreyenfeld 2003; Huinink 2005; Mayer and Schulze 2010). What might look like a
convergence of behavior, based on the development of the TFR, might in fact be pure
coincidence. Instead, the similarity of the TFR value might conceal divergent patterns of
This article seeks to shed some light on recent fertility trends in East and West Germany.
The East German case might be instructive for several reasons. First, it might help us to
understand the fertility changes that have occurred across Eastern Europe in recent
decades. The fertility response in East Germany was drastic and immediate, and reflects
the speed at which the societal and economic transformation took place. As such, East
Germany might provide an indication of what direction fertility in other Eastern European
countries will take. For the purposes of our research, it is also a considerable advantage
that East Germany can be directly compared to West Germany, which is subject to the
same legal and political institutions. Therefore, it is much easier to make sense of the
fertility development in East Germany than in other former communist countries. The
East German case also challenges our ideas about the relationship between economic
conditions and fertility. It seems like a paradox that East German period fertility has
caught up with the West German rate, even though the economic situation is still much
less favorable in the eastern part of the country. Furthermore, the greatest increase in the
period fertility rate is observed for the late 1990s, a period in which the economic
situation tended towards stagnation. The West German case is of interest because it has
the longest continuous history of low fertility in the world, and period fertility measures
show no sign yet of increase, in contrast to recently rising fertility in the vast majority of
low fertility populations (Goldstein et al. 2009).
In this paper, we try to shed light on these issues by (a) giving an account of the factors
that might explain persisting East-West differences in fertility dynamics, (b) conducting
an order-specific fertility analysis of fertility trends, and (c) projecting completed fertility
for the recent cohorts. We draw on two new data sources for these purposes. First, we use
fertility data which has just been made available in the Human Fertility Database (2010).
We also draw upon the Perinatal Statistics, which enable us to conduct an order-specific
fertility analysis for Germany. In contrast to German vital statistics, which until recently
did not distinguish children by biological order, the Perinatal Statistics provide a clear
indication of the parity of the mother at each birth (Kreyenfeld et al. 2010b). This enables
us to give a more detailed account of the order-specific fertility behavior in the two parts
of Germany. Furthermore, it enables us to generate a tempo-adjusted TFR, which has not
been available for this country previously.
Figure 1: Total Fertility Rate in East and West Germany, 1980-2009
1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
West Germany
East Germany
(with Berlin)
East Germany
(without Berlin
Note: Until 1990, West Germany also includes West Berlin and East Germany includes East Berlin. After
1990, West Germany does not include any part of Berlin. For East Germany, we display separate graphs
with and without Berlin. Due to a regional reform (which came into force in the beginning of 2001), it is not
possible to differentiate Berlin along the old territorial borders of East and West Germany any longer.
Source: HFD (2010)
Convergence in Constraints and Attitudes?
When fertility rates declined in the period following the fall of the Berlin Wall, a lively
debate ensued about the causes of the sudden drop in birth intensities. The collapse of the
communist system seemed an ideal field experiment that would enable us to understand
how individuals respond to radically changing economic and social constraints (Witte and
Wagner 1996: 387). A dominant view at that time was that the decline in fertility was a
sign of a societal “shock,” a “crisis,” or even an indication of societal “anomie” (Eberstadt
1994; Adler 1997; Philipov and Dorbritz 2003). Meanwhile, other researchers reflected
upon the new personal opportunities that opened up after unification. Individualization,
self-actualization, and career advancement were assumed to be strong forces that led
young East German women and men to postpone their fertility plans (Beck-Gernsheim
1997). Disagreement arose, however, around the question of what the future would bring,
particularly if East German fertility were to continue to remain below West German
levels, and around the issue of whether East Germans would eventually “westernize” their
behavior (Conrad et al. 1996: 332). Today, 20 years after unification, we can look back
and must conclude that many of the assumptions and interpretations of the past have been
proven wrong.
The first mistake was regarding the speed of the transformation process. The Unification
Treaty, which was ratified on October 3, 1990, had nullified the legal and political system
of the German Democratic Republic, replacing it with the West German system. While
this legal transformation was amazingly profound and swift, the transformation of the
East German economy followed another path. The prior hope of a steady convergence of
economic conditions had been abandoned by the end of the 1990s, when growth in wages
and productivity showed indications of slowing in East Germany (Emmerich and Walwei
1998, Brenke and Zimmermann 2010). Up to today, East Germany grapples with high
unemployment rates. Moreover, East German wages have never reached parity with the
West, nor have East Germans acquired private property to an extent that even remotely
approaches West German levels. Given these continuing gaps in earnings and wealth, it is
unsurprising that distinct differences remain in how East and West Germans feel about
their economic situation and the security of their jobs (Table 1).
Researchers also failed to predict accurately how slowly the two societies would converge
in terms of value structures, attitudes, and beliefs. At the time of unification, it was argued
that, because the two regions shared a common cultural heritage, East and West German
attitudes and values would swiftly converge. However, this assumption failed to
adequately take into account how profound the exposure to 40 years of communism had
been. The oppressive policies of the communist government had effectively erased
religion and religious practice from everyday life. A very distinct legacy of this
communist past is the fact that East Germany is today one of the most secularized areas in
the world (Pollack 2002). In 1992, a large majority of the population (66 percent) in the
East stated that they had no religious affiliation, compared to only 12 percent in the West.
Since then, the share of the population with a religious affiliation has declined even
further in the East, partly due to the adoption of West German tax regulations, which
include a “church tax.”
Another striking difference between the two parts of the country is the divergence in
opinions regarding maternal employment. West Germans are notoriously concerned about
the adverse effects of maternal employment on the well-being of their children –the strong
disapproval of so-called “Rabenmutter” (Raven Mother) who neglects her infant– while
East Germans generally do not share this worry (Scott 1999; Treas and Widmer 2000).
The difference in attitudes towards maternal employment corresponds to a much higher
share of mothers working full-time. In 2007, only 18 percent of West German mothers
While a church tax also existed in the former East Germany, the collection of the tax was not
enforced. This changed after unification, when the West German tax system was introduced in the
East and the tax offices were authorized to collect the church tax together with the other taxes. As a
result, the economic costs of having a religious affiliation increased after 1990. This is believed to
one of the reasons why the share of people with a religious affiliation declined further after
unification, despite the fact that the church now enjoyed greater freedom.
were employed full-time, compared with 50 percent of East German mothers (Table 1).
The employment patterns of East and West German women differ in such fundamental
ways that it is possible to wonder how such a divergent pattern can exist in one country.
However, the availability of public day care also plays an important role in this context.
Several researchers have asserted that unification was accompanied by a “sharp decline in
the availability of childcare in the East” (Rindfuss and Brewster 1996: 273), and by a
privatization of day care centers (Adler 1997: 44). In fact, however, there was no sharp
reduction in the availability of public child care in the East. Instead, East Germans are still
privileged in the sense that work and family life are quite compatible in this part of the
country, due to the wide availability of public day care places, including places for
children below age three.
Thus, the prior prediction that the societies would swiftly converge has not yet
materialized. It is, however, important to note here that assumptions that East Germany
needed to be “modernized” or “westernized” were oversimplified. While the East German
economy has indeed lagged behind, the East German family model is many respects more
“advanced” than the West German model. East German women mostly work full-time,
they have access to a wide range of day care facilities, and their male partners are more
likely to take on housework and child care tasks than their more traditional counterparts in
the West (Trappe and Sørensen 2006). Thus, East German society has reached a level of
gender equality that West Germany is still striving to achieve.
The most significant error that researchers made, however, was related to the
interpretation of demographic indicators. Some researchers had diagnosed a crisis-related
East German fertility behavior from simply looking at the drop in the period total fertility
rate. The convergence of East German TFR values towards West German levels at the end
of the 1990s was consistently interpreted as a convergence of fertility behavior patterns in
East and West Germany. Retrospectively, we must conclude that this perception was
wrong. It arose out of an interpretation of basic demographic indicators that failed to take
into account the differences in East and West German behavior prior to unification, which
we now turn to in the next section.
Table 1: Socioeconomic Indicators in East and West Germany
West Germany East Germany
~1990 ~2000 ~2008 ~1990 ~2000 ~2008
Economic Indicators
Unemployment rate
6.2 8.4 7.8 10.2 18.5 14.5
Annual earnings of employees (in euros)
26,698 32,438 35,229 15,185 26,387 29,257
% households with housing property
40% 44% 44% 26% 32% 32%
Economic Worries
% worried about finances
12% 13% 17% 30% 22% 26%
% worried about job security
12% 9% 10% 39% 20% 19%
Religion in Society
% without religious affiliation
12% 13% 16% 66% 71% 74%
Child Care and Maternal Employment
% full-time employed mothers
23% 20% 18% 74% 58% 50%
% of children ages 0-3 in day care
2% 3% 12% 56% 37% 41%
Notes: 1) The unemployment rate refers to the years 1991, 2000, and 2009. It was calculated based on
dependent civilian workforce. Source: Bundesagentur für Arbeit (2010)
2) Values refer to the annual earnings of the employees (“Arbeitnehmerentgelte je Arbeitnehmer, Inland”)
for the years 1991, 2000, and 2009. Source: Statistisches Bundesamt (2010a)
3) Values refer to the years 1991, 2000, and 2008. Source: Frick and Grimm (2010: 657)
4) Values refer to the years 1990, 2000, and 2008. The figure represents the share of respondents who are
very worried about their financial situation. Source: German Socio-Economic Panel, own estimations based
on sample A and C.
5) Values refer to the years 1990, 2000, and 2008. The figure represents the share of employed respondents
who are very worried about the security of their jobs. Source: German Socio-Economic Panel, own
estimations based on sample A and C.
6) Values refer to the years 1992, 2000, and 2008. Source: ALLBUS, own estimates
7) Estimations based on the German micro-census provided by Esther Geisler. The sample includes women
who have at least one child who is age 18 or younger and lives in the same household as the respondent.
8) Values refer to the years 1990, 2002, and 2009. Values for the years 1990 and 2002 are “provision rates”
(share of available day care places per 100 children). The values for the year 2009 are “usage rates” (share
of children in day care per 100 children). Source: Statistisches Bundesamt (1992, 2004, 2010b).
A Journey Back in Time: Fertility in the FRG and in the GDR
Until the demise of the communist system, there were several marked differences in
fertility behavior between the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German
Democratic Republic. First, the lifetime fertility of the East German cohorts was slightly
higher than that of their West German counterparts. Second, differences existed in the
timing of first parenthood. In East Germany, the mean age at first birth fluctuated around
age 22, and the levels of lifelong childlessness never grew to more than five to ten
percent. In West Germany, however, behavior changed profoundly starting with the
cohorts born in the 1950s. Women postponed first-time motherhood, and childlessness
increased steadily to about 20 percent for the more recent cohorts (Table 2).
Despite the strong differences in first-birth patterns, the rates of progression to a second
child were rather similar in the two parts of Germany. About 70 percent of the women
who had a first child went on to have a second child (Table 2). A major characteristic of
East German fertility was, however, a low progression rate to a third child. This pattern is
surprising, given that the pro-natalistic policies of the GDR provided various incentives to
have a larger family (Frerich and Frey 1993). A common explanation for the low third-
birth intensities is the all-encompassing labor market integration of women in the GDR.
The normal weekly work schedule was more than 40 hours, and more flexible work
arrangements (such as part-time work) that might have been more compatible with larger
families were not available, and were not tolerated by the GDR government (Höhn and
Schwarz 1993). In addition, the limited access to private housing has been cited as a
possible reason for the unwillingness of East Germans to have a third child (Frerich and
Frey 1993; Kreyenfeld 2008).
Table 2: Number of Children of West and East German Women, by Birth Cohort
West Germany East Germany
1950-54 1955-59 1960-64 1950-54 1955-59 1960-64
Distribution (column %)
Childless 17% 19% 21% 9% 10% 12%
One child 25% 23% 22% 28% 27% 31%
Two children 38% 38% 38% 47% 47% 42%
Three children 14% 14% 13% 12% 12% 11%
Four and more children 6% 6% 5% 4% 5% 4%
Parity Progression Ratios
PPR 0,1
0.83 0.81 0.79 0.91 0.90 0.88
PPR 1,2
0.70 0.72 0.72 0.69 0.70 0.65
PPR 2,3
0.34 0.34 0.32 0.25 0.27 0.26
Note: Berlin is included in East Germany
Source: Estimates based on data from the 2008 micro-census provided by the German Federal Statistical
Office (Statistisches Bundesamt)
Fertility in the Wake of Unification
In 1989, the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, two different “fertility regimes” existed in
the two parts of Germany. The most important difference between the two systems is in
the age at first-time parenthood. In 1989, West German women were roughly age 27 when
they had their first child, while their East German counterparts were, at age 22, five years
younger (Kreyenfeld 2002; 2003). Given these differences in behavior, a convergence of
East and West German behavior would have meant that the age at parenthood in the East
would have to increase dramatically. As a result, the annual fertility rates would have
been suppressed temporarily by tempo effects.
Unfortunately, the opportunities for conducting the order-specific fertility analysis that
would have helped us to tease out these tempo distortions have been limited. With
German unification, the legal framework of the GDR was replaced by West German
regulations. This also applied to regulations that governed the collection of demographic
data. While the GDR statistics recorded births by biological order, the statistics in the
West did not take note of biological birth order. With the ratification of the Unification
Treaty, the East and West German statistics were harmonized. As a consequence, order-
specific birth information was no longer available for the East, and vital statistics did not
provide answers to the questions of whether and how the age at first-time childbearing
had increased in East Germany.
While there are no order-specific fertility indicators available from vital statistics, there
are several survey datasets that can be used to investigate fertility behavior. By piecing
together the various survey-based results, it is possible to get a more or less coherent
picture of the changes in birth behavior in East Germany after unification. Most
importantly, these survey data indicate that East German women who were childless at
unification postponed parenthood to the higher ages typical of West Germany. Yet despite
the large increase in the age at first birth, East Germans remained younger when they had
their first child than their counterparts in the West (Kreyenfeld 2003). The relatively high
first-birth intensities of East Germans are, however, in sharp contrast to their second-birth
Since 2008, German vital statistics include order-specific birth information. Apparently, there have
been some problems with the change of the registration system, as it is still unclear when this data
will become available.
behavior. It is clear from the analysis of survey data that second-birth rates have declined
below West German levels in the course of unification (Sackmann 1999; Huinink 2005;
Huinink and Kreyenfeld 2004; Kreyenfeld 2008; Arránz Becker et al. 2010). Particularly
women who had just had their first child before the fall of the Wall were strongly affected
in their fertility behavior. Unification cut into the fertility careers of these women. On the
one hand, these women were still very young at first childbearing, and they could have
postponed having a second child to a later age. However, we can now conclude that many
of these women have forgone having a second child altogether (Kreyenfeld 2008).
Little is known about the behavior of subsequent cohorts. Qualitative studies tell us that
childless East Germans are more certain than West Germans that they want to have
children over the course of their lives (Böhnke 2009; Buhr et al 2010). However, there are
no studies that deal with recent trends in East and West German behavior. Furthermore,
the sample sizes in the survey data are mostly small, and it is therefore not possible to
estimate birth rates by single years. A tempo-corrected TFR, which has been generated for
other Eastern European countries, is consequently not available for Germany. This also
means that Germany has been missing consistently from cross-national studies that
provide an overview of recent fertility trends (Sobotka 2004; Goldstein et al. 2009). The
related question of how we should interpret the convergence of East and West German
TFR values in 2008 remains unanswered.
Birth Order-Specific Developments between 2001 and 2008
In order to understand the recent convergence in East and West German fertility behavior,
the following analysis draws on two types of data sources. First, we use Perinatal
Statistics for the period 2001-2008 to provide us with insights into order-specific fertility
behavior in East and West Germany. The Perinatal Statistics are part of the hospital
statistics, and they include clinical records for all children who were delivered in German
hospitals. They provide a clear indication of the parity of the mother at each birth. For the
period 2001-2008, almost five million live births are available from these statistics. Based
on these statistics, order-specific fertility rates have been made available (for details, see
Kreyenfeld et al. 2010b). Second, we use cohort- and age-specific fertility rates for East
and West Germany which have recently become available in the Human Fertility
Database (2010).
Figure 2 displays period TFR values by order based on the data from the Perinatal
Statistics. If we recall the development of the period TFR (Figure 1), we can see that there
is a convergence of the period TFR in East and West Germany in 2008. Based on Figure
2, we can now conclude that the recent convergence is attributable in large part to a
drastic increase in the TFR for second-order births in East Germany. While the second-
order TFR in the East was only around 0.38 in 2001, it had increased to 0.45 by 2008,
almost reaching West German levels. This suggests that East Germany has overcome the
“second-birth crisis” that was diagnosed in the past. This is, however, not the case for
third-birth rates. Despite some increases in recent years, there is still an East-West
Age- and cohort-specific fertility rates had been available for Germany previously. However, the
data in the Human Fertility Data Base (2010) take into account the changes in the definition of age
which have occurred in both parts of Germany over time. Furthermore, the HFD provides order-
specific fertility rates for East Germany in a computerized format, which has not been widely
available before (Kreyenfeld et al. 2010a).
difference in third-birth behavior. If we also take into account that West German third-
birth rates are quite low compared to other European countries, we must conclude that the
low third-birth rates are still a major characteristic of the East German fertility regime.
Figure 2: Order-Specific TFR (ages 15-44)
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
East Germany
West Germany
East Germany
West Germany
East Germany
West Germany
First Birth
Second Birth
Third Birth
Source: BQS Perinatal Statistics (own estimates), (for details see Kreyenfeld et al. 2010b)
Table 3 provides the mean ages at childbirth by birth order for the period 2001-2008.
This table illustrates two remarkable developments. First, the postponement of the first
birth has not yet come to a halt. In both parts of Germany, the age at first birth has
increased steadily by about one year in the period 2001-2008. This means that the period
TFR is still distorted by tempo effects in both parts of Germany. Another remarkable
trend that can be discerned from this table is related to the East-West-differences in the
age at first-time motherhood. At age 27.5 in 2008, East Germans are still more than one
year younger when they have their first child than their West German counterparts.
Regarding second-order births, East-West differences are smaller than for first births,
which suggests that East Germans probably space their first and second children farther
apart than West Germans. It is notable, too, that the age at second birth has increased at a
similar pace as the age at first birth for the period considered here, which suggests that the
TFR for second-order births is also distorted by tempo changes. This does not, however,
apply to the same extent to third- and higher-order births. The pace of postponement is
broadly similar in the two parts of Germany, particularly for higher-order births, a
phenomenon that is important to note when formulating tempo-adjusted fertility rates.
Table 3: Mean Age at Childbirth by Birth Order
East Germany 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
26.12 26.35 26.60 26.85 26.97 27.07 27.29 27.47
29.32 29.54 29.66 29.86 29.94 30.10 30.45 30.67
31.42 31.64 31.62 31.62 31.63 31.83 32.07 32.21
33.15 33.23 33.09 33.00 33.10 33.21 33.08 33.34
All births
27.94 28.14 28.34 28.55 28.68 28.85 29.10 29.30
West Germany 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
27.43 27.57 27.74 27.95 28.10 28.26 28.49 28.69
29.88 30.04 30.15 30.30 30.43 30.57 30.78 30.98
31.46 31.57 31.65 31.79 31.87 31.96 32.19 32.35
33.06 33.09 33.19 33.26 33.32 33.41 33.49 33.56
All births
28.99 29.14 29.28 29.46 29.60 29.76 29.97 30.15
Note: Only ages 15-44 are considered. Berlin is included in East Germany
Source: BQS Perinatal Statistics (own estimates), (for details see Kreyenfeld et al. 2010b)
Table 3 shows the tempo-adjusted TFR for East and West Germany. Here we used the
standard adjustment suggested by Bongaarts and Feneey (1998), which is commonly
referred to as the “BF adjustment.” As the adjusted TFR is known to be quite volatile
(Sobotka and Lutz 2009, see also Table A1 in the Appendix), we have generated the
averages for the periods 2001-2004 and 2005-2008. The adjusted TFR suggests that the
fertility level in the two parts of Germany is, at about 1.6 children, roughly the same. This
seems plausible at it matches the cohort fertility of the cohorts who have just completed
childbearing. The parity-specific estimates also seem plausible. They indicate that
childlessness in West Germany is around 20 percent, while it is still lower in the eastern
parts of the country.
However, some caution is warranted in the interpretation of the adjusted TFR. The BF
adjustment relies on the assumption that the shape of the fertility schedule remains
constant (Kohler and Philipov 2001; Goldstein et al. 2009). As can be seen from Figure
A1 in the appendix, this assumption does not hold. Particularly interesting is the shape of
the second-birth rates in East Germany. It seems that there is not just a shift in the age
schedule, but that the birth rate at higher ages has increased, while it has remained
constant at younger ages. This could suggest that the increase in the second-birth rates are
not just tempo effects that are related to the behavior of women who had postponed the
first birth, and who are only now having a second child (Lesthaegue and Willems 1999).
In the next section, we will look at the development of the cohort TFR, which relies on
different assumptions than those underlie the BF formula.
Table 4: Tempo-Adjusted TFR (Ages 15-44)
East Germany 2001-2004 2005-2008 2001-2008
0.88 0.82 0.84
0.48 0.57 0.52
0.12 0.16 0.13
0.05 0.07 0.06
1.54 1.66 1.55
West Germany 2001-2004 2005-2008 2001-2008
0.82 0.82 0.81
0.55 0.58 0.56
0.17 0.19 0.18
0.07 0.08 0.07
1.62 1.66 1.63
Note: Only ages 15-44 are considered. Berlin is included in East Germany. The adjusted TFR for each
period was calculated by using the average TFR for a given period and changes in the age at birth during
this time period. The change in the age at childbirth was calculated by taking into account the age at the
beginning and at the end of the period (see Table A1 in the appendix). Source: Own estimates based on
BQS Perinatal Statistics
The Future of Fertility in East and West Germany
The results from the tempo-adjusted TFR for the period 2001-2008 suggest that East and
West German fertility has converged at a level of 1.6 children per woman. This is about
the cohort fertility rate of the West German 1963 cohort. The cohort fertility for the same
East German cohort is, at 1.7, slightly higher. In addition, for the younger cohorts, who
are still of childbearing age, we can see that East Germans have, up to today, more
children on average than West Germans (Figure A2 in the appendix). However, the
potential of the East German cohorts to “recuperate” at higher ages is probably lower than
for the West German cohorts. If we take into account that East Germans have a lower rate
of childbearing at higher ages, this could mean that East German cohort fertility will soon
drop below the West German rate. We address this possibility in the following discussion.
Figure 3 provides projections on the cohort fertility for the two parts of Germany. Our
approach is to project cohort fertility based on recent age-specific trends. In contrast to the
popular “frozen rate” method, our method incorporates our knowledge that fertility is
being postponed, and uses linear extrapolation of age-specific rates.
We believe that the
projections of cohorts observed until at least age 38 are highly reliable because they
involve the projection of only a small fraction of the fertility of these cohorts. But the
projection for cohorts truncated at earlier ages is more uncertain. We have indicated this
in the figure by using dots to show the cohorts that are observed until at least age 43, solid
lines to indicate the cohorts observed until at least age 38, and dashed lines for those
observed until at least age 33.
One conclusion that can be drawn from this figure is that there is a reversal in the long-
term downward trend in cohort fertility in West Germany. The cohorts born around 1970
seem to mark the turning point. For the subsequent cohorts, cohort fertility again
increases. This trend reversal in cohort fertility corresponds to the first generations of
young women who were able to take advantage of more generous family policies in West
Germany, such as the expansion of public day for children below age three. This may be
mere coincidence but is nonetheless suggestive. Second, the figure shows East German
cohort fertility will temporarily drop below West German levels. For the East German
cohorts born between 1965 and 1970, we observe a continuous decline in fertility. This
In order to project age-specific fertility trends, we used the last five years in the observed age-
specific fertility rates. For each age, we used linear interpolation to predict the birth rate at a given
age by:
. The assumption behind this method is that
the rate of increase of the last five years will continue in the future.
might be explained by the unfavorable economic situation that these cohorts have been
exposed to. However, it is also necessary to take a life-course perspective when
interpreting East German cohort fertility rates. Many of the women of the cohorts born
between 1965 and 1970 had just had their first child before unification. This means that
unification basically “cutinto the fertility careers of these women. Unification occurred
at a time when many of these women had just one child. Although they might have been
quite young when they had their first children, they did not “pick up” their fertility careers
at later ages, and often remained with one child only. This means that it is not only the
economic situation that has kept these East German women from having any further
children, but rather the combination of the economic situation and a reluctance to have
unusually large birth intervals.
For the East German cohorts who started their reproductive lives after unification (cohorts
born 1971 and later), the situation is different. They had postponed first-time childbearing
to later stages in their lives, and thus to the end of the 1990s or the beginning of this
century, when the economic situation in the East had eased to a great extent. Compared to
previous cohorts whose fertility careers had been “disrupted” by the economic and social
upheavals that followed unification, these cohorts could opt for a second child without
having to choose unusually high birth intervals. The increase in the second-order TFR fits
this interpretation (Figure 2). The final increase in the East German cohort fertility would
be in line with this assumption, too.
Figure 3: Cohort Fertility Forecasts for East and West Germany
1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975
Birth cohort
West Germany
East Germany
Fertility observed until age 43+ age 38+ age 33+
Note: Cohort TFR estimated by linearly extrapolating the age-specific rate from the last five cohorts.
Observed fertility available until 2008 from HFD.
Data source: Human Fertility Database – Germany (2010)
Summary and Conclusions
We began this paper with the observation that period fertility in East Germany has
overtaken that of the West. Superficially, this might appear to be evidence of a
convergence of fertility behavior of East and West Germans nearly two decades after
unification. However, we have argued that the similarity in current period fertility rates in
the two parts of Germany hides fundamental differences in demographic behavioral
patterns. What seems like a belated demographic unification of the two parts of Germany
covers up major contrasts.
The analyses presented in this paper have revealed the presence of marked differences in
order-specific fertility patterns. Motherhood in East Germany still occurs at younger ages
than motherhood in the West. On average, an East German woman is one year younger
when she has her first child than a West German woman. Furthermore, having children is
still a more universal experience in East Germany, as the shares of childlessness are lower
in the East than in the West. Although the one-child family is still slightly more prevalent
in the East than in the West, the big increases in recent period fertility are due to the
convergence of second-birth rates. Third-birth rates in the East have remained below West
German levels. What we are seeing 18 years after unification is, we interpret, the
reemergence of higher period fertility in the East due to less childlessness and a “catch-
up” in the progression to second births.
The analysis of period fertility, even when it is broken down by parity, can lead to some
confusion between the level of fertility and changes in timing (Bongaarts and Feeney
1998; Sobotka and Lutz 2009). Using newly available able data from the Human Fertility
Database (2010), we were able to construct a new time series of cohort fertility. Our
method of cohort projection, which is well-suited for conditions of fertility postponement,
shows the following. First, as was already known, there has been a long history of higher
cohort fertility in the East than in the West that began before unification. Second, there
has been an important reversal in the decade-long trend toward lower cohort fertility in
the West. Third, although much of the decline in period fertility in the 1990s was due to
postponement, the decline in cohort fertility in the East shows us that there was also a real
reduction in lifetime childbearing. Fourth, cohort fertility in the East will most likely drop
below West German levels for the cohorts born around 1970. These cohorts are expected
to have lower cohort fertility than their East German predecessors, and also slightly lower
fertility than their contemporaries born in the West. However, we expect that the decline
in East German cohort fertility will be temporary. Indeed, if age specific trends continue
unchanged a big “if”– then East German cohorts born at the end of the 1970s would
catch up with their West German counterparts.
It is also important to note that in East Germany –as in other Eastern European countries–
postponement of births was an easy option for women because of the early and universal
childbearing that existed before the Wall came down. Women who were childless at
unification were rather young, and they could postpone parenthood until the economic
and societal situation had stabilized, without fearing that they would reach the biological
limits of fertility. Direct exposure to their West German counterparts appears to have
shifted the normative age limits of fertility in East Germany. While the age at first birth
increased only gradually in many Eastern European countries (Sobotka 2004; Perelli-
Harris 2006, 20008; Frejka and Sobotka 2008), East German women had the “normative
freedom” to postpone rapidly their first birth towards higher West German ages.
What East Germany has in common with other Eastern European countries is, however,
the low second-birth rate during the period after unification (Frejka and Sobotka 2008).
We have argued that low second-birth intensities, particularly for the cohorts born
between 1965 and 1970, could be attributable to the fact that some of these women had
their first child before unification. The upheavals that followed unification cut into the
fertility careers of these women. Although they were very young when they had their first
child, they did not have a second child at later ages, as this would have meant unusually
In Figure 3, we purposely truncate the projections with the cohort 1975 because we believe that
future forecasts are rather speculative. However, if trends continue unchanged into the future the
cohort fertility of the East would overtake that of the West.
long birth intervals. Recent increases indicate that the decline in second-birth rates was a
transitory effect of unification.
The East German fertility development is also an example of how economic conditions
need not be the determining factor in fertility levels. Despite worse, and fairly stagnant,
economic opportunities, East Germans are still younger at first birth than women in the
West, motherhood is more universal and period fertility is slightly higher. Although
economic improvements may increase fertility even further in the East, the enormous
economic differences between East and West do not produce –as, for example, Myrsklä et
al. (2010) would suggest– higher period fertility in the West.
The direct comparison of East with West Germany also points to the aspects of the former
communist regimes that might have been conducive to high fertility. A high degree of
family orientation fosters universal motherhood in the East. While the economic
conditions might have adverse effects on East German fertility, women’s labor market
behavior –buttressed by the wide availability of public day care– make East German
society more gender-equal than the West German society (McDonald 2000; Adserà 2004).
The male breadwinner model, which remains prevalent in West Germany, is a precarious
family arrangement when economic conditions deteriorate. Furthermore, the
incompatibility of childrearing and employment in West Germany have pressured many
women to choose between having children or pursuing a career –which has resulted in
world-record levels of childlessness. Gradually, the West German society is changing as
child care for children under age three is becoming more widely available, and as
maternal employment is slowly becoming more acceptable. As these changes take hold,
West Germany’s fertility rates may be expected to gradually move upwards. If economic
conditions improve in the East, we expect continued increase in the East as well. In both
parts of Germany, increases in period birth rates are likely at some point in the near
future, if and when the depressing effect of fertility postponement weakens.
The paper was presented at the Annual Conference of the German Society for
Demography 2010. We wish to thank the participants of this conference for their valuable
comments. We also want to thank Tomas Frejka, Heike Trappe, Felix Rößger and our
colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research for their critical
comments on an earlier version of this paper. For editing, we thank Miriam Hils.
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Table A1: Tempo-Adjusted TFR
East Germany 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2006
0.87 0.89 0.84 0.75 0.79 0.87 0.79
0.47 0.47 0.48 0.47 0.56 0.62 0.56
0.12 0.11 0.12 0.13 0.16 0.16 0.16
0.05 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.06 0.07 0.06
1.51 1.52 1.50 1.42 1.58 1.72 1.58
West Germany 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2006
0.80 0.82 0.82 0.78 0.80 0.85 0.80
0.55 0.55 0.56 0.55 0.57 0.59 0.57
0.17 0.17 0.17 0.17 0.19 0.20 0.19
0.07 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.08 0.08 0.08
1.59 1.62 1.63 1.57 1.63 1.72 1.63
Note: Note: Only ages 15-44 are considered. Bongaarts-Feeney Adjustment was applied (see Bongaarts and
Feeney 1998).
Source: Own estimates based on BQS Perinatal Statistics
Figure A1: Age-Specific Fertility Rates by Birth Order for East and West Germany
Panel A: First births, West Germany Panel B: Second births, West Germany
15 20 25 30 35 40
15 20 25 30 35 40
Panel C: First births, East Germany Panel D: Second births, East Germany
15 20 25 30 35 40
15 20 25 30 35 40
Source: BQS-Perinatal Statistics (own estimations)
Figure A2: Cohort Fertility Rate in East and West Germany in 2008
Cohort Fertility, Cohorts 1950-1963 Cohort Fertility in 2008, Cohorts 1964-1979
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963
Birth Cohort
East Germany
West Germany
1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978
Birth Cohort
East Germany
West Germany
Source: HFD (2010)
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... Working age adults were forced to shift to completely new industries and/or adapt to new forms of workplace organization (see Goedicke, 2013 for an overview). The strain of adapting to changes in the work domain affected other domains of life as well, as indicated in particular by the delay of fertility (e.g., Goldstein & Kreyenfeld, 2011) and of divorce (e.g., Hummelsheim, 2009). Arguably, people at the start, middle and end of their careers experienced the new labor market very differently. ...
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For people living in the former East Germany, reunification with the former West Germany fundamentally transformed the sociopolitical system and most domains of everyday life. Previous research has revealed temporal shifts in average life satisfaction after reunification in the former East German population as a whole, but so far little is known about heterogeneity in patterns of adjustment within the population. Building on evidence of considerable diversity in trajectories of adjustment to other critical life events, in the current study we use longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study and growth mixture models to identify typical yet distinct trajectories of life satisfaction among former East Germans, covering the period just before reunification and four years thereafter. We identified four trajectories: continuously satisfied (experienced by 17% of the sample), upward adjusters (24%), downward adjusters (34%), and continuously dissatisfied (25%). Results of logistic regression analyses indicate that the propensity to follow a particular trajectory was strongly predicted by an individual’s baseline economic (employment, but not income), socio-relational (loneliness) and personal (education, satisfaction with health) resources. Whereas former East Germans with more resources just prior to reunification were more likely to maintain high or increase in life satisfaction, their peers with fewer resources were more apt to either maintain low or decrease in life satisfaction. People in their mid-twenties through mid-fifties (i.e., prime working age) at the time of reunification were also more likely to maintain low life satisfaction. Accordingly, reunification affected the unfolding of individual lives differently.
... West German women not only have their first child later; they also have more children-an average of 2 compared to about 1.9 in East Germany (Table 1). This is in line with previous research reporting higher total fertility rates in view of fewer childless women in East Germany, but larger families (three or more children) in West Germany (Goldstein & Kreyenfeld, 2011). Figure 2 (upper row, first and second column) depicts a baseline model of (continuously) married mothers' average predicted accumulation of PEP after the birth of their first child in East and West Germany (Table 2A, Models 1a and 1b). ...
This study investigates how married mothers’ relative bargaining power before the birth of their first child affects their subsequent accumulation of pension entitlements in East versus West Germany. I use a novel data linkage between the German sample of the “Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe” and administrative records from the German pension insurance (SHARE-RV) to analyze monthly life-course data on married mothers from East (N = 226) and West Germany (N = 586) who were born between 1925 and 1967. Applying random effects growth curve models and mediation analyses, I find that women’s relative bargaining power before parenthood is linked to their subsequent accumulation of pension entitlements in West (but not East) Germany. The results support the notion that bargaining power early in couples’ linked lives has long-term consequences for women’s pension income. Moreover, the results indicate that negotiations within the couple are constricted by the extent to which the institutional context supports or hinders the reconciliation of women’s work–family conflict.
Households are prime locations of risk pooling and redistribution. Household constellations in terms of the number of earners and their occupations define households’ capacity to cushion crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic or rising inflation. The occupational structure and the sociodemographic composition of households continue to vary widely between the former East and West German regions. Against the background of rising levels of in-work poverty in recent years, we extend the prevalence and penalties framework as used in poverty research to two occupational risks that gained significance in post-COVID-19 labour markets. Our study addresses two questions: 1) How prevalent were household constellations in which the sole earner or both earners worked in an occupation that was both non-teleworkable and non-essential (NTNE) in East and West Germany in 2019? 2) Did the poverty penalty associated with the sole or both earners working in NTNE occupations differ in East and West Germany in 2019? The most recent available data from the German Microcensus (2019, N=179,755 households) is linked to new data collected on the teleworkability of occupations and occupations’ classification as essential by German federal state decrees in the spring of 2020. Descriptive statistics and regression models show that the prevalence of household constellations where the sole earner or both earners worked in NTNE occupations was relatively similar across East and West Germany. In contrast to overall similar prevalence, in East Germany the poverty penalty associated with the sole or both earners working in NTNE occupations was substantially elevated. Controlling for known occupational disadvantages, including low education, fixed-term contracts, shift work and the lack of leadership responsibilities narrowed but did not eliminate the sizeable gap in poverty penalties associated with NTNE occupations between East and West Germany.
There is a growing amount of literature in economic geography showing that historical episodes can leave long‐lasting cultural and institutional legacies across space. For credibly identifying such persistent effects the analyses should not pick up trends preceding the respective episodes. Against this background, the paper re‐examines the famous case of the German division and re‐unification. The empirical focus is on the persistent mark‐up of women in work in East relative to West German regions that is often associated with legacy effects of the socialist regime that was in place in East Germany during the country’s four decades of division. In contrast to the conventional wisdom in academia, policy, and the public, the current paper shows that the higher share of working women in East German regions is not due to a legacy of socialism. Female labour force participation was already remarkably higher in the East before the introduction of socialism. The general lesson is that any attempt to explain spatial variation in individual decision‐making by persisting institutional and cultural legacies of certain historical episodes needs to assess regional conditions pre‐dating these episodes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Although a growing literature explores the relationship between migration and fertility, far less scholarship has examined how migrant childbearing varies over time, including across migrant cohorts. I extend previous research by exploring migrant-cohort differences in fertility and the role of changing composition by education and type of family migration. Using 1984–2016 German Socio-Economic Panel data, I investigate the transition into first, second, and third birth among foreign-born women in West Germany. Results from an event-history analysis reveal that education and type of family migration—including marriage migration and family reunions—contribute to differences in first birth across migrant cohorts. Specifically, more rapid entry into first birth among recent migrants from Turkey stems from a greater representation of marriage migrants across arrival cohorts, while increasing education is associated with reduced first birth propensities among recent migrants from Southern Europe. I also find variation in the risk of higher parity transitions across migrant cohorts, particularly lower third birth risks among recent arrivals from Turkey, likely a result of changing exposures within origin and destination contexts. These findings suggest that as political and socioeconomic circumstances vary within origin and destination contexts, selection, adaptation, and socialization processes jointly shape childbearing behavior.
In this article, I explore German men’s relation to the emerging ideal of the father figure in general, and their conceptualizations and practices of this ideal as exemplified in the notion of aktive Vaterschaft (active fatherhood) in particular. I draw upon ethnographic data collected in Berlin (2010–2013) among three groups of West German men who converge in how they conceptualize and seek presence—sensual, emotional, and in absentia—in the lives of their children. Here, paternal labor includes striving for regular contact with one’s child through routine care, emotional labor, and/or legal routes. This article, thus, furthers scholarship on forms of paternal labor, arguing that aktive Vaterschaft potentially re-signifies gender roles and destabilizes persistent negative representations of fathers. The contemporary demographic “crisis,” corresponding policy reforms that encourage male caregiving, shifts in discourses around fathers’ roles, and men’s social presence as caregivers facilitate and produce these particular forms of caring masculinities.
Germany has a record of more than 40 years of below-replacement fertility and annual death surplus. Hence, it is commonly accepted that Germany’s population will decline considerably in the coming decades. Recent increases in immigration may, however, challenge the official long-term demographic projections for Germany. This paper assesses the impact of a permanent higher-than-expected level of net immigration to Germany as in the past three years on the projections for population, age structure and ethnic makeup by mid-century. The paper adds a higher immigration variant to the Federal Statistical Office’s latest Coordinated Population Projection and two variants of a (a) constant or (b) decreasing fertility rate among migrant women. It can be shown that with permanent net migration as high as in recent years (around 300,000 per annum), Germany’s population would not significantly decrease in the coming decades but would rather remain at 80 million until 2050. On the other hand, the sharp rise in the old-age dependency ratio is only mildly weakened by increased immigration rates. This issue is therefore probably best addressed by other (or additional) means. The increase in retirees will level off after 2035 in any case. The ethnic makeup of society would be affected to a greater degree than its age composition: The share of first- and second-generation immigrants among the total population is projected to rise to about 35 percent in this scenario (and to above 40 percent if the third generation is also counted).
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Early in the 21(st) century, three-quarters of Europe's population lived in countries with fertility considerably below replacement. This general conclusion is arrived at irrespective of whether period or cohort fertility measures are used. In Western and Northern Europe, fertility quantum was slightly below replacement. In Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, fertility quantum as measured by the period total fertility rate (TFR) and its tempo-adjusted version was markedly below replacement; in many countries it was around 1.5, and in some populations it was as low as 1.3 to 1.4 births per woman. Throughout Europe, a historic transformation of childbearing patterns characterised by a pronounced delay of entry into parenthood has been taking place. This secular trend towards later childbearing has greatly contributed to the decline and fluctuations in period fertility rates. Delayed births were being recuperated, especially among childless women, but the extent of recuperation differs by country and region. All in all, despite a recent upward trend in the period TFR, European fertility early in the 21(st) century was at its lowest point since the Second World War.
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Between 1989 and 1994, the birth rate in Eastern Germany (the former German Democratic Republic) fell from 12.0 to 5.1 per 1,000, while fertility in the West remained stable at around 11.0 per 1,000. In addition, marriage rates in the East have been cut in half. The social and economic conditions surrounding marriage and parenthood have changed significantly since 1989 in post-socialist East Germany (e.g., higher unemployment and less generous family policies). Using a gender perspective, I argue that in the insecure economic times following German unification, East German women are likely to regard the responsibility of getting married and raising children as a risky, long-term commitment they are reluctant to enter. Evidence from various data sources shows that since 1989 changes in the nature of employment and reductions in state support for family leave, child care, and abortion have contributed to declining marriage and birth rates in the new German states.
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We analyze survey data from 23, largely industrialized countries on attitudes toward married women's employment at four stages of the family life course. Despite general consensus between countries, cluster and correspondence analyses show that the nations represent three distinct patterns of attitudes. There is only mixed support for the hypothesis that public opinion conforms to state welfare regime type. Instead, normative beliefs reflect both a general dimension of structural and cultural factors facilitating female labor force participation and a life course dimension specific to maternal employment. Men and women largely agree, but gender differences affect cluster membership for a few countries. Systematic analysis of a large number of countries helps to test the limits of comparative typologies and to identify anomalous cases for closer study.
Der Bevölkerungsrückgang in Ostdeutschland ist ein mittlerweile auch öffentlich wahrgenommenes Krisensymptom und eine Herausforderung für die politische Gestaltung. In diesem Band wird, ausgehend von der Fallstudie Sachsen-Anhalt, erstmals eine interdisziplinäre Gesamtschau der regionalen Bevölkerungsentwicklung in Ostdeutschland und ihrer Einflussfaktoren vorgelegt. Der vergleichende Blick auf andere Regionen in Deutschland, Italien, Irland, Finnland und Portugal ermöglicht neue Blickwinkel auf regionale Entwicklungsdisparitäten und ihre Folgen.
This note reviews trends in fertility, nuptiality, and mortality between 1989 and 1993 for the population within the territory previously administered by the German Democratic Republic. The momentous political events witnessed in this region during this period find their counterpart in an upheaval of local demographic trends. During the years in question, Eastern German fertility rates underwent an extraordinary decline. Marriage rates were similarly affected. Perhaps most unexpectedly, age-specific mortality rates for many male and female age groups appear to have risen - this, despite ostensible increases in per capita consumption and improvements in medical services owing to unification. -from Author
This investigation draws on detailed, longitudinal sample survey data to examine declining fertility in East Germany. Since the unification of Germany in 1990, the fertility rate in East Germany has been halved--falling well below that of West Germany, which was already among the lowest in the world. The authors assess the manner in which these changes in individual behavior can best be understood as responses to socioeconomic change. They advocate using a broad sociological perspective to view demographic trends--as well as other behavioral and attitudinal changes accompanying unification--as separate, but related, threads in an overall process of assimilation.
This article provides a detailed analysis of recent fertility changes in 15 countries of central and eastern Europe and in the former East Germany. It focuses on the period after 1989, which witnessed a profound transformation in childbearing patterns, including a rapid decline in fertility rates, the postponement of childbearing, and an upsurge in the proportion of extra-marital births. These shifts went hand in hand with changes in union formation, abortion and contraceptive prevalence. While the intensive decline of the total fertility rates seems to indicate a uniform reaction of former Communist societies to the ongoing social and economic changes, the analysis reveals that there was increasing diversity in fertility patterns across the region. The article pays particular attention to the interplay between postponement of childbearing and period fertility levels. The progression of the postponement - indicated by an increase in the mean age of women at first birth - has varied widely between countries. We hypothesize that the more rapid postponement of parenthood was related to the success of the transition period, and to the extent it brought new opportunities and choices for young people and shifted the institutional structure of many societies considerably closer to the structure of western European countries.