Fertility and Marriage. Observations Based on Slovakian Data.

Karol Pastor, Comenius University Bratislava

In Slovakia, similarly as in the most countries, both fertility and nuptiality has been radically declined in the recent decades. In the same time, the number of children born outside the marriage has grown both in relative and absolute figures (from 7 % in 1990 to today’s 39 %). Despite of it, as the paper shows, the close link between marriage and fertility persists, at least in the framework of the Slovak population. The study is based on empirical data collected by Slovak Statistical Office.

The most considerable changes in fertility and nuptiality occur in the period 1990 – 2000. The age-specific fertility rates dropped in all relevant age groups for women in a whole, although these rates for both married and unmarried women staid essentially unchanged. What has changed, is the ratio of married women among all women. Thus, the decrease in fertility is mainly a result of decrease in nuptiality.

The corresponding statistical characteristics of fertility and nuptiality, respectively, are developing in time very similarly and they are strongly correlated (total rates, mean age, variability). This holds particularly for time series of first births and first marriages of women, which are almost identical. Moreover, the patterns of age-specific rates have changed radically (in parameters), but for these two processes very similarly. The empirical data can be very well fitted by the same models (e.g. lognormal, Hadwiger, Coal-McNeil) with almost equal parameters for both these processes.

Although this close link between fertility and nuptiality may eventually weaken with time, prognoses made by these models suggest that it will persist in near future, as well.

This research was supported by the grant VEGA 2/0047/15.


In Slovakia, similarly as in the most countries of the world, both fertility and nuptiality has been radically declined in the recent decades. It is one of the typical features of the Second Demographic Transition, and has been observed by many authors. In the same time, the number of children born outside the marriage has grown both in relative and absolute figures (from 7 % in 1990 to today’s 39 %). It could seem that the marriage as an institution has lost its relevance for demography and population development. However, the attentive study of the empiric data from Slovakia shows, that this intuitive conclusion is needed to correct. As follows from the paper, the close link between marriage and fertility persists, at least in the framework of the Slovak population. To what extend this can be generalized on other populations, as well, remains to be an open question.

The paper is based on empirical data collected by Slovak Statistical Office about fertility and nuptiality from Slovakia within the recent decades. Most important observations:

The most considerable changes in fertility and nuptiality occur in the period 1990 – 2000. The age-specific fertility rates in Slovakia dropped in all relevant age groups for women in a whole, although these rates for both married and unmarried women staid essentially unchanged. What has changed, is the ratio of married women among all women. Thus, the decrease in fertility is mainly a result of decrease in nuptiality (or, more precisely, postponement of family formation). Namely, the age-specific fertility rates of the married women were multiply greater than of the unmarried ones. Since 2000, the fertility rates have grown up, for both married and unmarried women (except of the youngest age group).

The corresponding statistical characteristics of fertility and nuptiality, respectively, are developing in time very similarly and they are strongly correlated (total rates, mean age, variability). This holds particularly for time series of first births and first marriages of women, which are almost identical. (Of course, it does not mean that it is concerned the same women.) Moreover, the patterns of age-specific rates have changed radically (in parameters), but for these two processes almost identical. The empirical data can be very well fitted by the same models (e.g. lognormal, Hadwiger, Coal-McNeil) with almost equal parameters for both processes (first birth and first marriage).

Although this close link between fertility and nuptiality may eventually weaken a little with time, predictions made by these models suggest that it will persist in the near future, as well. This should be taken into account not only by demographers and sociologists, but politicians, as well.

In the paper, the numerical results will be also demonstrated on graphs.

This research was supported by the grant VEGA 2/0047/15.

Presented in Session 1233: Posters