Fertility Transition in 19th-20th Century Estonia: An Individual Level Perspective
preprintposted on 16.04.2021, 13:36 by Markus Läll
Fertility transition has yet to accumulate a large set of studies with individual level data to allow to make wide generalizations. Recently the availability of data has become better. The current thesis is one step in the direction of looking into the fertility transition as a whole with individual level data and by using event-history methods on the case of Estonia.
The study takes the cohort perspective to find out which birth cohorts at which parities started the fertility transition, what were the different paths taken by urban and rural populations and how did birth spacing change over time.
We use register data collected by the First Estonian Republic, which has the fertility histories of birth cohorts of Estonian women born between 1845 and 1919, and fertility processes lasting until the year 1949. We analyse these with piece-wise constant survival models separately for each parity; having birth cohort, urbanrural residency and piece-wise constant durations since previous birth as the main variables.
We find that that probability to next birth starts to decline earlier for the higher parities and moves to lower parities for later cohorts. For parities 3-7 women born in 1873-1880 are first with significantly lower hazard to next birth. For parity 2 the 1880-1887 birth cohort starts the transition. All parities contribute to the fertility decline. For the urban population the fertility decline is greater in proportion and also lasts less in birth cohorts, while for the rural population the decline is more gradual and lasts longer. In the birth spacing dimension we find that the average interval between births became shorter over time across all parities, and for both the urban and the rural population.