Second births – the consequences of changing family and fertility patterns in the Czech Republic

Anna Stastna, Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (RILSA)

The social, political and economic transformations experienced by the former socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe since the beginning of the 1990s have resulted in rapid changes in demographic trends the consequences of which, with regard to marriage and fertility, are significant. The period since 1990 has witnessed far-reaching changes in the occurrence and timing of family life transitions among young adults in the Czech Republic. Family formation was postponed in the period 1990 and 1996 and fertility rates declined sharply from 1.89 to 1.18 during this period remaining below the ‘lowest-low’ threshold (at 1.1-1.2) until 2004. The study investigates the determinants of having a second child in Czech society during two distinctive political periods characterised by differing demographic behaviour. The study involves a society in which the most characteristic trend in reproductive patterns during the socialist era was a strong orientation towards the two-child family and where the ideal of a two-child family still persists. An event-history approach is employed to analyse Czech women born from 1951 onwards who could potentially have had a second birth from the beginning of the 1970s. Data has been extracted from the Czech Generations and Gender Survey (2005). In line with findings in other countries, it was discovered that family background and early life course experiences as well as membership of a religious community are important second birth determinants in Czech society. The study discusses two key variables - education and partnership history – and compares results obtained from a model which employs the unobserved heterogeneity factor with those from a complex model in which attitudes towards family life are, to some extent, influenced by partnership history and the age at which women enter motherhood.

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Presented in Session 71: Fertility Shifts in Central and Eastern Europe