Stockholm University
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Disentangling the Swedish Fertility Decline of the 2010s

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posted on 2022-01-24, 10:15 authored by Sofi Ohlsson WijkSofi Ohlsson Wijk, Gunnar AnderssonGunnar Andersson
BACKGROUND: The declining fertility trends in Western countries during the 2010s is puzzling, not least for the Nordic countries.
OBJECTIVE: In order to better understand the driving forces of the decline, we examine whether it is driven by differential behavior across socio-demographic population subgroups. We study Sweden, which is a particularly puzzling case.
METHODS: Event-history techniques are applied to register data of the Swedish-born population to provide an in-depth analysis of the socio-demographic profile of the country’s decade-long fertility decline.
RESULTS: The decline is confined to first births, with no apparent differences between individuals living in different types of municipalities or between those with a full Swedish or non-Swedish background. The first-birth decline is notable across labor-market activity groups, but is somewhat more pronounced among those with the weakest labor-market positions. The share of men and women who were active in the labor market increased, however, and among them a growing part had high earnings. The findings are strikingly similar for men and women.
CONCLUSIONS: Little of structural factors seem to be at play in shaping the Swedish fertility decline, and other, perhaps global factors, may be at play in the general tendency to increasingly forego or postpone having children. The polarization in childbearing across labor-market positions is an area of future attention.


the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working life and Welfare (FORTE), grant number 2020-00639




Original title

Disentangling the Swedish Fertility Decline of the 2010s

Original language

  • English

Publication date


Affiliation (institution of first SU-affiliated author)

  • 310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology


  • public