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Rudiments of Recent Fertility Decline in Hungary -
Postponement, Educational Differences, and Outcomes of Changing Partnership Forms


Zsolt Spéder





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Our study describes fundamental changes in childbearing behavior in Hungary. It documents current postponement of entry into motherhood (first birth) and uncovers signs of delay in second birth. We place the behavioral modifications into historical time and reveal the basic role of the political, economic, and societal transformation of Hungary that started in 1989-1990 in these modifications. We document postponement as well as differentiation, and mothers’ highest level of education will represent the structural position of individuals. We shed light on the different speed of postponement and support the assumption of behavioral differences according to the highest level of education. Particular attention will be paid to changing partnership relations: Fertility outcomes remain to be strongly associated with the type of partnership and its development; profound changes in partnership formation, namely the proliferation of cohabitation and the increasing separation rate of first partnerships, may therefore facilitate fertility decline in Hungary. The analysis is based on the first wave of the Hungarian panel survey "Turning points of the life course" carried out in 2001/2002.

Author's affiliation
Zsolt Spéder
Demographic Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary

demographic transition, educational differences, fertility, Hungary, partnership forms, postponement, societal transformation

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