Three Decades of Lowest-low Fertility in Spain, 1991-2018

Albert Esteve, Center for Demographic Studies (Barcelona)
Mariona Lozano, CED, Centre for Demographic Studies
Diederik Boertien, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Qi Cui, Center for Demographic Studies
Ryohei Mogi, University of Oxford

There are plenty of theories on low fertility, but few studies have aimed to measure and quantify the relative importance of various obstacles to fertility for explaining differences between desired and actual fertility. We aim to fill this gap by using data from the 2018 Fertility Survey (14,556 women and 2.619 men) for Spain, a country with one of the lowest levels of fertility in the world. Data on ideal family size, intended fertility, and reported reasons for not yet having (more) children allow us to estimate the extent of unrealized fertility as well as the reported relative importance of economic, health, and partnership related reasons for unrealized fertility. Results confirm that observed fertility is clearly below desired fertility in Spain. Material reasons - associated with job insecurity, instability, economic resources - are the main reported reasons why women and men do not have the desired number of children. These reasons are followed by those related to partnership (not having a stable partner), and health (difficulties in conceiving). Estimates based on actual fertility, employment, and partnerships shows that having a stable partner between the ages of 25 and 35 is a proximate determinant of the transition to the first child.

Keywords: Fertility and childbirth

See paper.

  Presented in Session 63. Timing and Childbearing