Some features of recent demographic trends in Sweden
preprintposted on 02.07.2021, 09:12 by Britta Hoem
During the late 1980s, the total fertility rate grew rapidly in Sweden (Figure 1) and in 1990, Sweden had the highest fertility level in Europe. This was quite a new situation for this country, which since long has been known for piloting modern demographic behaviour and for having a low fertility level. Politicians, demographers, economists, and the general public wanted to learn how that could happen in this country, where labour force participation rates for women are at an international high, where gender equality has come further than in most other countries, where cohabitation is more wide-spread than anywhere else, and where dissolution rates are among the higher ones too. Was it because of the favourable economic situation with full employment and so on, was it due to our generous family policies, or was the reason perhaps more of a reaction to the postponement of childbearing that Sweden had experienced since the mid-1970s like most other Western countries? Another question asked was whether Sweden remained a forerunner of trends to come, which would mean that other countries could expect the same development in the near future.
Such considerations motivated the new survey called Family and working life, where the fieldwork started in late 1992. Many countries were planning family surveys at the same time in order to get a better understanding of demographic behaviour, and comparative projects were on the books as welI2. There was a lot of interest in including Sweden in these international comparisons.
Since the early 1990s, the situation is quite different, however, both as regards the fertility level and economic circumstances. The Swedish unemployment rate has been at a record high and the total fertility level has fallen to 1.72 (1995). The new fertility decrease has not come to an end yet and few demographers are willing to guess how fertility will develop even in the short run.
The purpose of this paper is to present some results from the Swedish survey of 1992. Our account is based on four reports published in Swedish in 1995.