High suburban fertility: Evidence from four Northern European countries


While numerous studies have compared urban and rural fertility rates across Europe, virtually no studies have distinguished suburbs as a distinct residential context. This study examines fertility variation across different residential contexts in four Northern European countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. We move beyond the conventional urban-rural focus of most previous studies of within-nation variations in fertility by distinguishing between urban centres and suburbs of cities and towns. We base our study on aggregate and individual-level register data and our analysis shows that fertility levels are significantly higher in suburbs than in urban centres; this pattern has persisted over the past quarter of a century for all four countries. A parity-specific analysis of Swedish register data reveals that total fertility varies between central cities and suburbs due to the relatively high firstand second-birth propensities in the suburbs. Further analysis shows that fertility variation between the central cities and suburbs persists after controlling for women’s socio-economic characteristics. We discuss the role of various factors in accounting for high suburban fertility including omitted individual characteristics, contextual factors and selective residential moves of couples planning to have a child, suggesting that more study is required of this underresearched topic. 1 Department of Geography, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Roxby Building, Liverpool, L69 7ZT, United Kingdom. 2 Longitudinal Studies Centre – Scotland (LSCS), School of Geography and Geosciences , University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland KY16 9AL, United Kingdom. 3 Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. Kulu, Boyle & Andersson: High suburban fertility 916 http://www.demographic-research.org

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@inproceedings{Kulu2009HighSF, title={High suburban fertility: Evidence from four Northern European countries}, author={Hill Kulu and Paul Boyle and Gunnar Andersson}, year={2009} }