Second and Third Births in Armenia and Moldova: An Economic Perspective of Recent Behaviour and Current Preferences

  • Sunnee BillingsleyEmail author


Little is known about fertility in Armenia and Moldova, the two countries that have both, according to national statistics, experienced very low levels of fertility during the dramatic economic, social and political restructuring in the last two decades. This article fills this gap and explores recent fertility behaviour and current fertility preferences using 2005 Demographic and Health Survey data. Educational differences in fertility decline and the association between socioeconomic indicators and fertility preferences are considered from an economic perspective. Special emphasis is given to determining whether and how diverging economic conditions in the two countries as well as crisis conditions may have influenced fertility. Second parity progression ratios (PPR) reveal a positive relationship between the degree of decline from 1990 to 2005 and education, whereas third PPR declines appear the greatest for women with both the lowest and highest education. In both countries, logistic regression results suggest that working women are more likely to want a second child, as well as want the child sooner university than later in Armenia, and the wealthiest women in Armenia have a higher odds of wanting a third child. Dual-jobless couples are less likely to want a second child in Moldova and more likely to postpone the next child in Armenia. These findings offer some insight into the shifts in fertility behaviour in these two post-Soviet countries and suggest that despite diverging economic trajectories and a lessening commitment to the two-child norm in Moldova, determinants of fertility behaviour and preferences have remained similar in both countries.


Fertility preferences Parity progression Postponement Post-communist Economic explanations Armenia Moldova Higher-order births Post-communist Postponement Employment 

Deuxième et troisième naissance en Arménie et en Moldavie: Une approche économique des comportements récents et des préférences actuelles


Il y a peu d’informations sur la fécondité en Arménie et en Moldavie, deux pays qui, selon leurs statistiques nationales, ont connu de très faibles niveaux de fécondité durant la spectaculaire restructuration économique, sociale et politique survenue au cours de ces deux dernières décennies. Cet article vise à combler ce vide et analyse les comportements de fécondité récents et les préférences actuelles de fécondité à partir de données de l’enquête démographique et de santé de 2005. Les différences de fécondité selon le niveau d’instruction et l’association entre les indicateurs socioéconomiques et les préférences en matière de fécondité sont étudiées sous un angle économique. Une attention particulière est apportée aux situations économiques divergentes des deux pays ainsi qu’aux caractéristiques de la crise afin de déterminer si ces deux facteurs ont pu influencer la fécondité et de quelle manière. Les probabilités d’agrandissement du premier au deuxième enfant montrent une relation positive entre l’ampleur du déclin entre 1990 et 2005 et le niveau d’instruction, alors que la diminution des probabilités d’agrandissement du deuxième au troisième enfant est la plus importante chez les femmes ayant le niveau d’instruction soit le plus faible, soit le plus élevé. Les résultats de régressions logistiques réalisées suggèrent que dans les deux pays les femmes qui travaillent sont plus disposées à vouloir un deuxième enfant, qu’en Arménie elles souhaitent avoir cet enfant plus tôt, et que les femmes les plus aisées en Arménie ont une probabilité plus élevée de vouloir un troisième enfant. Les couples de chômeurs sont moins disposés à vouloir un deuxième enfant en Moldavie et plus disposés à retarder la venue du prochain enfant en Arménie. Ces résultats donnent un aperçu des modifications des comportements de fécondité dans ces pays après la période soviétique et suggèrent qu’en dépit de trajectoires économiques différentes et d’une moindre adhésion à la norme de deux enfants en Moldavie, les déterminants des comportements et des préférences en matière de fécondité sont restés semblables dans les deux pays.


Préférences de fécondité Probabilité d’agrandissement des familles Ajournement des naissances Post-communiste Explications économiques Arménie Moldavie 



This research was carried out with support provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the MEASURE DHS project (#GPO-C-00-03-00002-00). This author would like to thank Macro International Inc., Demographic and Health Research Division for offering both financial and analytical support to complete this analysis and for their many helpful suggestions, especially from Simona Bignami, Sarah Bradley, Vinod Mishra and Rand Stoneburner. The author also would like to thank the Pompeu Fabra Universitat in Barcelona, Spain, for their continuous support during the research for this article. The analysis also benefited from comments by Pau Baizan, Gosta Esping-Andersen, Alexandra Pittman, Elizabeth Thomson, Sutay Yavuz and two anonymous reviewers of the European Journal of Population. The author alone is responsible for any of the errors in this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Demography Unit, Department of SociologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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