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Childlessness and Fertility

One of the frustrating aspects of fertility studies is you have to wait until women are well into their forties to know for sure what cohort fertility level has been. Another frustration is the ABS reticence on privacy grounds to ask in each Census how many children have ever been born to women (we are lucky with the 2006 Census with this being an every 10 year question).

There are nevertheless strong enough trends from deferral of first birth and increased childlessness to conclude that, in more developed anglophile countries, fertility is on the decline. The main cause of this is a massive increase in education levels and career options for women. A comprehensive study of this is in a book added to our Resources section titled 'Childbearing Trends and Prospects in Low-Fertility Countries' by Tomas Frejka and Jean-Paul Sardon. The authors conclude that for women born in the 1930's and 40's the fertility decline was from fewer second and third order births while the decline happening now is from increased childlessness.

Posted Saturday, 27 May 2006


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