Fertility Recuperation in a Very Low Fertility Society: Political and Economic Attitudes, Technology, and Second Births in Ukraine

Brienna Perelli-Harris, University of Southampton
Natalia Permyakova, University of Southampton

Over the past few decades, fertility rates throughout Europe have plunged to lowest-lows, and then recuperated in most regions. Demographic analyses of fertility recuperation indicate that much of the recuperation is due to the slowing of the postponement of first births; however, in certain regions, the recuperation is due to the increase in second births. Here we investigate the case of Ukraine, which experienced the world’s lowest fertility rates in 2001 (TFR of 1.1.), and then recuperation to 1.5 by 2012, some of which was due to recuperated second births. In this study we focus on the individual-level characteristics of those who transitioned from first to second birth between 2003 and 2012, using the underutilized Ukrainian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (ULMS). Employing event history analysis, we investigate whether economic uncertainty, political and economic attitudes towards the West, and usage of technology is associated with higher second birth rates. Preliminary results indicate that household income has an inverted U-shaped relationship with second births. However, the most striking finding is that those who prefer the current economic and political system and use computers and the internet have higher second birth rates. We argue that this indicates fertility recuperation is more likely among those who have a positive political outlook and want Ukraine to adapt to the West, rather than reunite with Russia.

Presented in Session 103: Fertility in Times of Economic Uncertainty