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Having Kids Later. Economic Analyses for Industrialized Countries


Main trends are presented on fertility, age of the mother at having her first child, and time that young people spend in fulltime education. Fertility is declining and is now well below the population replacement rate in all European countries. To some extent the fertility decline is caused by postponement of motherhood in the sense that the decline would have been smaller if mothers of successive generations were not getting increasingly old. But why are women and men forming families so late, and what role is played by the extension of formal education?

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Correspondence to Siv Gustafsson.

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JEL Classification: D1, J1

I am grateful for having received useful suggestions for improving this paper from Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, Sara de la Rica, Shoshana Grossbard, Amaia Iza, Adriaan Kalwij, Eiko Kenjoh, Jean Kimmel, Catherine Sofer, and Seble Worku. I thank Howard Yourow for helping with my English and Robert Helmink and Sebastiene Postma for typing various versions of this paper. All remaining shortcomings are mine.

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Gustafsson, S. Having Kids Later. Economic Analyses for Industrialized Countries. Rev Econ Household 3, 5–16 (2005).

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  • fertility
  • postponement of motherhood
  • education