Fertility Behaviour of Minorities in Eastern and Central Europe

Igor Kiss, Doctoral School of Demography and Sociology, Pécs University
Zsolt Speder, HDRI
Branislav Sprocha, INFOSTAT Demographic Research Centre Slovakia
Laura Szabó, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute

Haug et al. (1998, 2000), who analysed fertility of minorities (the Hungarians in Romania and Slovakia; the Swedes in Finland; the Italian in Switzerland, the Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland, the Roma in some ECE countries), highlighted the convergence of the fertility patterns of the European minorities on the one hand, and the lower level of fertility of minorities as compared to the majority on the other hand. Courbage (1998) analysing the situation in the 90s also found, that the Hungarian minorities had lower fertility than the majority in both Romania and Slovakia. However, Spéder (2010) did not find considerable differences in the fertility of the Hungarian minority and the majority population in Romania.

Our question is how the minority position explains the variation in the minorities’ fertility behaviour, this position being closely related to the socio-economic, cultural and institutional characteristics of minorities and countries the minority population live at. We compare the fertility behaviour of Hungarians, Slovaks, Romanians, Serbs and Roma minorities living in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Serbia by using disaggregated individual data from the 2011 National Censuses. We also check the fertility patterns by educational background and geographical concentration. According to our calculations, the average number of children per women cohorts of Hungarian, Slovakian, Romanian and Serb minorities do not differ significantly from the majority cohorts’ fertility from the countries of origin. The only exception is the fertility of the Roma women: they have consistently higher fertility than the majority population in all countries. However, there are differences by cohorts, education and residential proximity in this respect.

Based on these results we believe that the societal transition after ’89 has had such a strong effect that, except the Roma population, it overrides the minority status effect on fertility behaviour.

Presented in Session 89: Fertility of Migrants