Does postponement explain the trend to later childbearing in France?

Ní Bhrolcháin, Máire and Toulemon, Laurent (2005) Does postponement explain the trend to later childbearing in France? Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 2005, 83-107. (doi:10.1553/populationyearbook2005s83).


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Fertility rates in most developed societies have been declining at younger ages and rising at older ages. This phenomenon is widely referred to as reflecting the postponement of fertility. But is this an accurate description? The present paper considers whether recent changes in the age-pattern of childbearing in France can be described as postponement. The statistical features of time series of rates are distinguished from the underlying behavioural process generating them. Criteria for the presence of postponement are proposed. In the absence of detailed, longitudinal information on intentions, the occurrence or otherwise of postponement is assessed by indirect means. Some evidence is found consistent with fertility postponement in recent decades. However, it cannot be interpreted causally, and so cannot be used either to explain recent trends or to anticipate future trends. Much more detailed evidence is required to establish the existence of postponement in the behavioural sense than is generally assumed.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1553/populationyearbook2005s83
Additional Information: ISBN 978-3-7001-3576-0 Print Edition; ISBN 978-3-7001-3655-2 Online Edition
ISSNs: 1728-4414 (print)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Social Statistics
ePrint ID: 32513
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 11 May 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:58

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