Crisis or cultural change? Explaining the growing nonmarital fertility in Romania after 1989

Cristina Oaneş, University of Cluj
Mihaela Hărăguş, University of Cluj
Maria Castiglioni, University of Padova

Before 1989 in Romania transition to adulthood was occurring at early ages, marriage was universal, fertility was over the replacement level. In 1990, the mean age at first marriage was 22.0, the mean age at first birth was 22.4, total fertility rate was 1.8, and the proportion of nonmarital birth was 4%. After 1990 many sharp and rapid changes in demographic behaviours have taken place: postponement of marriages, postponement of first birth, decline of TFR. However, marriage postponement has not translated entirely into postponement of first birth. The interval between marriage and first birth has declined, because of the very high and rapid increase of the proportions of nonmarital births. This increase is really surprising because age at marriage and age at first birth are still very low. In 2000, the mean age at first marriage was 23.4, the mean age at first birth was 23.6, total fertility rate was 1.3, the proportion of nonmarital birth was 25.5%. A possible explanation is the diffusion of sexual intercourse among unmarried women. In order to highlight variables associated with changing behaviours, we want to perform differential analyses with new survey data, concerning the several steps of marital and reproductive behaviour (first sexual intercourse, use of contraception, type of union, marital and nonmarital birth).

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 56: Reproductive health and fertility