Are Czech children a matter of concern?

Jitka Rychtarikova, Charles University, Prague
Jaroslav Kraus, Charles University, Prague

From the mid-1990's, the Czech Republic has belonged among lowest low fertility countries. Should the recent Czech fertility decline be interpreted as a societal value change or an adaptation to “less family friendly conditions” during the transition toward free market economy? Have been fertility patterns in younger generations more differentiated compared with parents’ generations? Czech fertility level indicators have dropped irrespective of educational attainment, region or community size and consequently structural differences have been preserved, this time at lower absolute ranges. The postponement in age of first marriage or first childbearing is not yet at “western” level. Generations and Gender Survey data confirmed advanced secularization of the Czech society with only 10% (aged 18-79 years) attending church weekly or monthly. On the other hand, categorical principal component analysis has revealed very strong propensity to parenthood, having a child is the highest family value (first factor). A marriage is not considered as a lifetime obligation (second factor) and a tolerance regarding homosexual partnership or single motherhood represents the third dimension. Subsequent classification and segmentation of variables (age, gender and educational attainment) including their categories crossed with factor scores (Answer Tree procedure) enabled to depict broader age groups (primarily 25-44) as the only distinct predictors of value orientations. The component pattern is present across all age group nevertheless the second and the third factors are interchanged in younger age. For childless people or with one child, financial issues and housing conditions matter the most in their parental plans. The lack of child pre-school facilities emerges as an important determinant, more significant for people planning to have the second child. Czech society shifted proportionately and is still demographically homogenous due to external constraints (other than in the past) and due to modest change in values or attitudes regarding fertility decisions.

Presented in Poster Session 1

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