Better later than never. The increase of late childbearing in Europe

Hans-Peter Kohler, University of Pennsylvania
Francesco C. Billari, Università Bocconi
Tomas Sobotka, Vienna Institute of Demography

Although the shift to later childbearing in advanced societies has been studied extensively, fertility trends at late reproductive ages remain largely explored. Our study aims to bridge this gap and provide a comprehensive exploration of late (in our definition, ages 40+) and very late (ages 45+) childbearing in Europe. Besides mapping general trends in late childbearing, we analyse whether its recent increase is primarily a period phenomenon and to what extent it can be explained by changing parity composition of women. The analysis of detailed data for seven European societies (Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden) shows that only a portion of the ongoing increase in late fertility can be attributed to the changing parity composition. The increase in late fertility has been 'genuine' among childless women and women at parity 1, who have increasingly postponed childbearing to the latest stage of reproductive life.

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Presented in Session 56: Reproductive health and fertility