Fertility trends after the financial crisis in Norway

Lars Dommermuth, Statistics Norway
Trude Lappegård, Statistics Norway

In research on fertility and family demography, the Nordic welfare states are often described as role models, as their active family and labour market policy supports couples to combine dual-earner careers with family life. The comparatively high and stable fertility rate in these countries is often seen as a positive result of various policy measures related to families and the labour market. Norway is one of the Nordic welfare states and profits in addition from a robust economy as an oil-exporting country. The global financial crisis of 2007-2008 lead only to a slight increase in unemployment rates in Norway. Nevertheless, we could observe a constant decline in the total fertility rate (TFR) in Norway since 2010. While the TFR was at 1,98 in 2009, it dropped down to 1,73 in 2015. To increase our understanding of the recent decline of the Norwegian TFR, we decompose the annual TFR by age, parity and education. Our analyses are based on administrative register data, including all registered births in the period from 1990 to 2015. We observe a new postponement of first-births after 2009. Together with a long-term decrease in higher order birth rates, this lead to the observed decline in the TFR since 2010. Second birth rates remained comparatively constant throughout the whole observed period. The decrease of first births and third birth rates occurs among all women independent of the level and field of education, but varies by women’s age. Decomposed by age specific rates, we find that the decrease is strongest among those educational groups which contribute most to the age specific rate. In the younger age groups, the first and third birth rates went especially down among lower educated women, while the decline of older age groups was more pronounced among higher educated women.

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Presented in Session 5: Recession and fertility