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Fertility Decline and the Persistence of Low Fertility in a Changing Policy Environment—A Hungarian Case Study

  • Zsolt SpéderEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

In the period following the Second World War, Hungary was the first country in Europe in which the total fertility rate (TFR) fell below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman (in 1962), and as of 2013, Hungary’s TFR was still among the lowest in Europe. The period in between these two dates was characterized by considerable fertility fluctuation combined with long-term decline. These fertility trends were clearly influenced by the profound structural changes that took place in Hungary, while the effects of various social-policy interventions are less obvious. The lowest points in Hungary’s fertility were clearly connected to two fundamental changes of regime—the transition from capitalism to communism and back to modern capitalism. In terms of social-policy interventions, the past 60 years can be divided into two periods: a time of continuously expanding programs that supported fertility under the communist regime followed by a period of changing policies accompanied by fertility fluctuations and decline. There is clear evidence that Hungarian fertility was able to recover from the first low due to active social-policy interventions under communism, but we know less about the role and effect of social policy in the more recent period of fertility fluctuation and decline.

Keywords

Fertility Population policy Social change Transitions Political transformations Hungary 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hungarian Demographic Research InstituteBudapestHungary

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