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Diverse Paths to Low and Lower Fertility: An Overview


Diverse Paths to Low and Lower Fertility: An Overview (2016).. Rindfuss, Ronald R. & Choe, Minja Kim (Eds.) (pp. 1-11). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.


All the countries represented in this volume have fertility below the replacement level, with some well below. Low fertility leads to population aging and issues of labor-force size and the provision of welfare benefits to the elderly. This introduction previews chapters that describe the situation in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and Taiwan, all with a total fertility rate (TFR) below 1.5 children per woman, and France, Norway, and the United Kingdom, where fertility is close to the replacement level of 2.1. The final country is Canada, which has a TFR between these two country groups, reflecting generous childcare and maternity-leave policies in Québec and considerably less generous policies in the rest of Canada. The discussion focuses on common features across the countries as well as distinctive cultural, institutional, and policy features of each country that might affect fertility levels, either deliberately or inadvertently. Such features include flexibility of the labor market, the link between marriage and childbearing, factors that help or hinder parents in balancing work and family obligations, gender equity, education systems, the housing market, and government subsidies for the cost of childrearing.


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