Trends in Childbearing and Nuptiality in Sweden : A Period Analysis
Doktorsavhandling (övrigt vetenskapligt) abstract
One purpose of this thesis is to introduce a system for presenting trends in family dynamics in contemporary Sweden. We use annual indexes of birth rates in order to display trends in childbearing for Swedish women over the years since 1961. We use similar annual indexes of marriage risks and divorce risks to display nuptiality trends since 1971. We give special attention to the effects of children on the nuptiality behavior in that we present parity specific indexes of risks for the different civil-status changes. Similarly, we present separate period indexes of birth rates for women with different numbers of children. All our indexes are pro¬duced by applying indirect standardization to register data which covers practically all of the Swedish female population. Standardization is performed by estimating intensity-regression models and our indexes give accurate information about changes in the propensity to give birth, to marry, and to divorce from one year to another.The thesis consists of seven separate papers. The first paper gives an overview of our system of period indexes. The next four papers give a more detailed presenta¬tion of various aspects of the family dynamics in Sweden. Paper number two displays trends in divorce risks over the years since 1971. A third paper presents a further examination of the effect of children on these divorce risks. Separate effects of the number of children, of premarital childbearing, and of the age of the youngest child are examined and disentangled. A fourth paper displays trends in risks of marriage formation and re-formation during the same period, and a fifth paper displays trends in childbearing over the years since 1961.A sixth paper of this thesis provides a deeper examination of patterns of child¬bearing and of reasons behind the recent strong fluctuations in Swedish fertility. During the 1980s and the 1990s fertility has varied in concert with the business cycle. We use information on registered income of Swedish women during that period and find that women who have relatively low levels of income and women who are enrolled as students generally have lower fertility than other women. We also find that a rise in the number of women with such characteristics can explain part of the decrease in fertility during the 1990s. In sum, we find a pattern of “pro-cyclical” fertility, where levels of female earnings are positively related to levels of childbear¬ing. It is evident, however, that other factors, working at the macro level, also have to be considered when one wants to explain the fluctuating fertility of Sweden. Social policy is one such factor. In a final paper/note, we examine childbearing at higher birth orders. We find strong selection effects in that the relative risk of giving birth to an additional child increases rapidly with the birth order after the birth of a fourth child.