The End of Lowest-Low Fertility?

Joshua R. Goldstein, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Aiva Jasilioniene, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Tomas Sobotka, Vienna Institute of Demography

In the 1990s, the total period fertility rate fell below 1.3 in Eastern and Southern Europe and East Asia, and along with this fall, came the idea of "lowest-low fertility." These new lows in fertility inspired a large literature, notably Bongaarts and Feeney's (1998) work on tempo-adjusted fertility, Kohler, Billari, and Ortega's (2002) exploration of the causes of lowest-low fertility and reasons why it might be easier for fertility to fall than to rise, and Lutz et al.'s (2005, 2006) notion of a low-fertility trap in which falls in fertility could be self-reinforcing. Even some official forecasts have shifted to the idea that fertility would stay low. It comes as news therefore that fertility in the lowest-low countries is now on the rise in Southern Europe, Eastern Europe and East Asia. We describe the extent of this rise and explore how it is associated with the tempo effect, migration, and economic and policy improvements in these countries.

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Presented in Session 17: Low Fertility