Retraditionalization as a Pathway to Escape Lowest-Low Fertility? Characteristics and Prospects of the Eastern European “Baby Boom”

Sebastian Kluesener , Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Aiva Jasilioniene, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Victoria Yuodeshko, Research Institute of Labour

Over the last two decades, Belarus and Russia have witnessed substantial fertility increases that have catapulted the Total Fertility Rates of these countries from lowest-low fertility to levels above 1.7 children per women. While it is frequently argued that higher gender equality is an important mechanism to overcome low fertility, these developments are rather paralleled by a retraditionalization of gender attitudes. This paper uses the 2017 Belarusian Generations and Gender Survey to look into the determinants and prospects of the Eastern European “baby boom". We show that the fertility increases are driven by two main components: The recuperation of births postponed during the preceding post-communist transition crisis and fertility increases among cohorts born after 1980. These cohorts also display very conservative attitudes. While recuperation will not have a long-term effect, the trend towards bigger families among young cohorts might affect fertility positively for longer.

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 Presented in Session 113. Low Fertility and Childlessness