As I mentioned in this post, the Population Association of America annual meeting 2007 played host to quite a large number of very useful and enlightening papers. From time to time I will try to highlight some of the more interesting ones among them here on Demography Matters.
In this vein, I would like to touch in this post on some of the questions raised in the paper Childbearing Trends and Policies in Europe: Is a new Demographic Disequilibrium Emerging? presented by Tomas Frejka, Jan Hoem, Tomáš Sobotka and Laurent Toulemon.
Evolution of Fertility in the OECD 1970-2004As Edward noted just below we have been taking a long break here at DM as of late. However, we have not been sitting idle and in this entry I would like to present the stylized facts of fertility trends in the OECD. Essentially, this entry is a re-post of an entry over at Alpha.Sources which is also, as it were, very relevant to DM. The data are taken from the recent 2007 OECD Factbook and more specifically this raw OECD excel data sheet. I realize that the tables are a bit messy in terms of distinguishing between the countries but I hope it is useful anyway. You can always consult this excel file which contains the graphs in plain design as well as graphs for individual countries.
Low Fertility In Europe
This collection of articles by the sexual and reproductive health section of the WHO will contain few surprises for regular readers of DM, but may well prove interesting for those who are less familiar with this topic (careful, PDF file and a very slow loader). Nonetheless there are also some interesting details.
The balance between ensuring female equality and trying to achieve reproduction levels of fertility is not always an easy one. As the editors of this collection say in their introduction:
Scrutinizing low fertilityAs many European countries are gearing up to reform their pension systems it is really all about the demographics. As life expectancy keeps on rising it is only logical to expect the retirment age to expand with some kind of proportionality. In fact, the real conundrum which is creating much grey hair on the heads of demographers and scientists is really how far life expectancy will and can be pushed? Interesting as this topic is this post will deal with the flip side of the coin which is fertillity and why it is low among many European countries and higher in others?
Lets begin with some empirical evidence though to frame the theme. A research paper from February this year has all the relevant data which points to the low fertility in Europe and the rest of the world. Hans-Peter Kohler, Francesco, C. Billari José, and José Antonio Ortega entitled "Low Fertility in Europe: Causes, Implications and Policy Options"; (from School of Arts and Science - Pennsylvania Univerisity).