Sociodemographic Differences in Fertility Trends in Lithuania: Cohort Perspective

Dovile Galdauskaite, Vytautas Magnus university
Vlada Stankuniene, Demographic Research Centre Vytautas Magnus University
Aiva Jasilioniene, Demographic Research Centre, Vytautas Magnus University

In spite of the continuous debate among demographers over the prominence of the period or cohort dimension in the fertility analysis, it is clear that both the approaches are important and complementary in assessing fertility changes. This study looks at fertility dynamics in Lithuania from the cohort perspective. A more in-depth cohort analysis is frequently hindered by the lack of detailed cohort fertility data. Therefore one of the major advantages of this study is that it uses nationally representative (covering the entire population of Lithuania) micro-level data from the 2001 and 2011 population censuses. We examine fertility trends across fifty cohorts of women, born in 1920 through 1970, and compare completed cohort fertility patterns of various socio-demographic population groups (by urban-rural place of residence, education, ethnicity, religion, etc.).

The trajectory of the completed fertility in Lithuania shows a gradual and relatively smooth decline across the studied birth cohorts. The trend is similar to those typical of other Central and Eastern European countries and significantly differs from highly fluctuating cohort fertility patterns in Western Europe. The subpopulation level fertility analysis (including parity-specific fertility trends and childlessness) showed that although socio-demographic differentiation in fertility has been diminishing in Lithuania, it remains significant. It also revealed some new trends evolving. Along with decreasing completed fertility differences by urban-rural place of residence, positive fertility changes have been observed in the most rapidly developing urban areas. The completed fertility has been decreasing with every successive birth cohort of women, but the most rapid decline has been taking place among the least educated women, whereas among highly educated women fertility level has stabilized and has even started rising. The upward trends observed in the vanguard subpopulations suggest that fertility level in Lithuania might be getting on the way towards its “recovery”.

Presented in Session 1232: Posters