Late fertility in Italy: exploring regional differentials in a lowest low fertility country

Piero Giorgi, Università di Teramo
Marija Mamolo, Vienna Institute of Demography and Università di Roma "La Sapienza"

The analysis focuses on regional differentials in the process of fertility ageing in Italy during the period 1955-2000 and investigates whether regions are homogenous as regards late fertility dynamics. First, we develop a decomposition model to discriminate the effect of different fertility components on the evolution of the proportion of period fertility realized at age 30+ (%TFR30+). Through the model it is possible: 1) to evaluate, for each region and for each time interval, the effect of timing and birth order dynamics on the variation of the proportion of fertility realized at age 30+; 2) to highlight whether the obvious role of declining fertility intensity on the proportion of fertility realized at age 30+ is accompanied by an effective shift of the fertility age schedule towards higher ages. Second, we perform a multiway factor analysis on the model parameters in order to synthesize the model results and highlight regional differences and commonalities over time as regards the effect of different fertility components on late fertility dynamics. We find out that the rise of %TFR30+ across Italian regions is initially related to the decrease of fertility intensity at younger ages. Since the mid 1980s an increase in the fertility at age 30+ is noticed. Only then the increase in the proportion of fertility realized at age 30+ can be associated with an effective increase of the fertility at age 30+. The multiway factor analysis confirms the presence of persistent differences in late fertility dynamics across Italian regions and recently there seems to be a diverging pattern between the Southern and the Central Northern regions. Such a result supports the argument derived from the decomposition model: the differences between Italian regional groupings are not merely due to a time lag in the evolution of the phenomenon, but presumably to different reproductive models.

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Presented in Session 9: Late fertility, twinning and reproductive technologies