Explaining very low fertility in postindustrial societies: an unconventional approach

Project leader

Funding source

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2012
Funding: 4348000 SEK


Very low fertility rates have come to characterize a number of postindustrial societies from Europe to East Asia, portending a range of problems for the 21st century from a shortage of prime-age workers to an increasing government burden to support the expanding ranks of the elderly. Such concerns are less pronounced in countries where fertility has remained close to replacement level, such as the US, Sweden, Norway, France and a few other West European societies. This poses the question: why has the fertility decline been so steep in some postindustrial countries and only moderate in others? The search for answers poses a significant theoretical challenge as well as an important methodological opportunity to test how innovative mixed-method and qualitative approaches can be employed to better unravel the complex social processes underlying individuals' family formation decisions across varied cultural contexts. After conducting a macro analysis of family- and gender-role attitudes and their impact on fertility in over 20 OECD countries, we will study individual intentions to have a second or third child. Linked to that, the qualitative portion of the project will deepen our understanding of the reasoning behind young women's and men's family- and gender-role attitudes and responses to economic and institutional circumstances in two very low-fertility countries (Spain and Japan) and two moderate-fertility societies (Sweden and the US).

Last updated on 2017-29-03 at 17:13