Below Replacement Fertility in Eastern Europe. Case Study of Romania
Cristina Bradatan, Pennsylvania State University
Nancy S. Landale, Pennsylvania State University
Below replacement fertility currently characterizes most of the European countries. Although the theory of the second demographic transition offers a coherent explanation for fertility decrease in Western Europe, fertility changes in Eastern Europe (a region with a different political and social context) are still poorly explained. This paper will focus on an Eastern European country, Romania, with a special fertility history during the last thirty years. It will focus on live birth and pregnancy trajectories for women born between 1954 and 1984. Using a Sickle transition rate model, we argue that the higher than replacement fertility during the period of 1967-1989 was not a natural phenomenon, but a direct result of political restrictions on using contraceptives and performing abortions. As a consequence, low fertility after 1990 is not a "strange" evolution, but an expected trend, only interrupted during 1967-1989 period.