Women’s Education and Cohort Fertility during the Baby Boom in the West

Jan Van Bavel, University of Leuven
Martin Klesment, Tallinn University
Eva Beaujouan, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Zuzanna Brzozowska, Vienna Institute of Demography and Warsaw School of Economics
Allan Puur, Tallinn University
David Sven Reher, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Miguel Requena, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
Glenn Sandström, Umeå University
Tomas Sobotka, Vienna Institute of Demography
Kryštof Zeman, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU) and Vienna Institute of Demography

In Western countries, female enrollment rates beyond the level of primary education started to increase around the middle of the 20th century. The expected implication was fertility decline and postponement. Yet, many countries experienced declining ages at first birth and increasing total fertility instead. This paper analyzes trends in cohort fertility underlying the Baby Boom and how they relate to women’s educational attainment in the USA and fourteen European countries. The focus is on fertility quantum and parity progression. We find that progression to higher parities continued to decline in all countries, in line with earlier fertility transition trends. However, in countries experiencing a Baby Boom, this was compensated by decreasing childlessness and parity progression after the first child, particularly among women with education beyond the primary level. As a result, the proportions having exactly two children went up steadily in all educational groups.

  See paper

Presented in Session 48: Families and Households in Comparative and Historical Perspective