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Falling Fertility and Rising Social Inequalities

Why is fertility falling and why is fertility inequalities rising? The aim is to unpack the underlying mechanisms behind the falling fertility trend and the rising fertility inequalities in the younger generations.

About the project

For almost a decade, Norway and the other Nordic countries have experienced falling fertility. At the same time, new social inequalities in fertility have emerged in the Nordic countries. First, we ask why fertility is falling and why the young generation is more reluctant to have children than previous generations. We will investigate how labor market changes and economic (in-)security are associated with fertility. We aim to assess how perceived economic uncertainty and concerns about the future influence peoples decisions about fertility and which factors in the labor market are a threat to fertility and which are becoming a prerequisite for high fertility. 

Second, we ask why social inequalities in fertility is rising. The social gradient of female fertility has rapidly changed in the recent years to a pattern that increasingly resemble male patterns of fertility inequality, including higher level of childlessness among the low educated. Thus, we ask whether the general achievements in gender equality and the outline of family policies are custom-made for well-educated middle-class families, practicing a dual breadwinner-model, while other socio-economic groups may struggle to realize their fertility plans. We aim to assess how unequal fertility patterns emerge in the interplay between new gender roles and social groups, and thus challenge existing theories on gender and social inequality in order to develop new theoretical frameworks.

Objectives

The primary objective of the proposed project is to unpack the underlying mechanisms behind the falling fertility trend and the rising fertility inequalities in the younger generations.

The secondary objectives are to

  • Identify the possible impact of labor market changes for the decline in fertility
  • Study how economic security is associated with fertility
  • Detect the origins and consequences of why social inequalities in fertility is increasing
  • Provide in-depth and comparative analyses
  • Expand theoretical perspectives in fertility research

Financing

The project is funded by The Research Council of Norway (VAM). The total grant award is NOK 12.000.000

Cooperation

Statistics Norway is a partner in the project. 


Duration

1 July 2020 - 30 June 2024

 

Published June 23, 2020 3:04 PM - Last modified June 24, 2020 9:41 AM