Our paper focuses on the realization of fertility intentions, exploring a new aspect of the post-communist fertility transition. By making use of a follow-up study, it was possible to compare five European countries and to analyze the chances of realizing short-term, time-dependent fertility intentions. There is always a difference between intention and behavior. It is partly due to demographic and social factors, such as age, parity, partnership status, but once these are accounted for, important differences remain between western European and post-communist countries. In the period after the turn of the millennium, chances of realizing intentions are significantly lower in post-communist countries than in western European countries. The lower chance of realization is a consequence of social anomie originating from discrepancy between slow value shift and the increased dynamism of structural changes.
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In Srole’s anomie scale from the 1950s, the questioning of childbearing was made explicit: “It is hardly fair to bring children into this world with the way things look for the future” (Srole 1956).
Only 64 % of the first wave respondents consented in writing to being interviewed for a second time.
The analysis excluded those who expected a child (were pregnant) at the time of the first interview. Those pregnant at the time of the second interview were marked as having successfully realized their intention.
This proved useful in a similar analysis; see Alesina and Fuchs-Schündeln (2007).
The importance of intention’s time-frame as regards realization is shown by the fact that 74 % of those planning to have a child within two years were successful in the Netherlands, while in Hungary only 40 % were able to realize their plans within three years. (Switzerland and Bulgaria 55 and 38 per cent respectively).
The higher failure rate of Bulgarian parents with one child, supported by using another database, is explained elsewhere (Kapitány and Spéder 2012).
This category includes also women looking after children without a leave.
See Blaskó and (2005) for detailed analysis of these processes.
There was no ISSP data collection in Georgia.
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The research was carried out as part of the EU FP7 project “Reproductive decision making in a macro-micro perspective (REPRO)”, Grant Agreement: SSH-2007- 3.1.2-217173, and the Hungarian Research Fund (OTKA) supported the completion of this study (No. NN776648). We benefited from discussions with research fellows of the REPRO project. We thank especially Arland Thornton and anonymous reviewers for useful comments and suggestions on previous drafts. A period spent at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock enabled finalization of the paper
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Spéder, Z., Kapitány, B. Failure to Realize Fertility Intentions: A Key Aspect of the Post-communist Fertility Transition. Popul Res Policy Rev 33, 393–418 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-013-9313-6
- Fertility intention
- Post-communist fertility transition
- Longitudinal study in fertility