Fertility rates and future population trends: Will Europe's birth rate recover or continue to decline?

Lutz W (2006). Fertility rates and future population trends: Will Europe's birth rate recover or continue to decline? International Journal of Andrology 29 (1): 25-33. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2005.00639.x.

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Abstract

Europe has long completed its demographic transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates. But the demographic transition paradigm that has been very useful for explaining global demographic trends during the 20th century and that still has strong predictive power when it comes to projecting future trends in countries that still have high fertility, has nothing to say about the future of fertility in Europe. The currently popular notion of a 'second demographic transition' is a useful way to describe a bundle of behavioural and normative changes that recently happened in Europe, but it has no predictive power. The social sciences have not yet come up with a useful theory to predict the future fertility level of post-demographic transition societies. We even do not know whether the trend will be up or down. Given the lack of a predictive theory, this paper will try to do two things: (i) Summarize different substantive arguments that would either suggest the assumption of a recovery of fertility rates in Europe or alternatively, imply further declines. (ii) Convert this discussion of the uncertainty of future fertility trends into probabilistic population projections for Europe, thus highlighting the implications of alternative fertility levels over the coming years. We will also discuss trade-offs between fertility and immigration, and the phenomenon that Europe now has entered a period of negative momentum of population growth.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aging; Demography; Future population trends; Human fertility
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Bibliographic Reference: International Journal of Andrology; 29(1):25-33 (February 2006) (Published online 7 February 2006)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:19
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2016 12:56
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/7933

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