The transformation processes within society which have been going on in Slovakia since 1989, are not only mirrored in the political sector and in all spheres of economic activity, rather they are also mirrored in the behaviour of the population and in their preferences of cultures and values. The demographic behaviour of the population in particular reacts very sensitively to the social transformation. When considering the population of Slovakia as a whole, natural movement plays an important role with regard to the dynamics. The development of natality and mortality, and in particular their proportionate relationship determine the growth or reduction of the population. The second component of the population movement -migration- does not have any great importance with regard to the growth and development of the population. In the assessment of the long-term development of the population of Slovakia, the tendencies towards stabilising development with the type of single reproduction proved to be dominant. This is given evidence by the long-term drop in the natality and mortality rate, and at the same time the reduction in natural growth of the population. The increase of average age in the population is a side-effect of this. The long-term tendencies of population development in Slovakia, which lead to a stabilised population and single reproduction, represent the natural components of social development. In certain analogies, this can be encountered in all European populations, and it can be presumed that similar development tendencies will take place in less developed states. The differences are expressed in the temporal asynchrony and are, of course, the result of different rates in the entire socio-economic development. In the evaluation of the population development in Slovakia during the last 6 years, the most general manifestation is the "acceleration" of the tendencies of long-term development. This applies above all for the drop in natality and the natural population growth, and therefore for the change in the age structure of the population. On the other hand, the drop in miscarriage rates, the increased age of maximum fertility and the marrying age can be regarded as positive trends. The acceleration of these development tendencies in the last six years is most noteworthy. The average annual drop in natality in the years 1950-1960 was, for example 0,11‰, whereas it achieved in the years 1990-1996 a value of up to 0,62%. The drop in values of net reproduction rate is also alarming. Since 1990, when it was at a level of 0.933, it sank in the year 1996 to 0.700. The drop in natural growth from 4,8% to 1,7% is also unusually intensive. The explanation of these negative development tendencies is quite complicated. The changes in the political and economic system in Slovakia took place in three stages. The first stage, in the years 1990-1993, had a destructive character - especially in the economic sphere. This was followed by a brief period of stabilisation - 1994-1996 - and since 1996, many economic sectors have revealed compensation and dev elopment tendencies. These stages of economic development are linked to several changes in the development of the population processes: The complicated economic situation effects a displacement of marriage, postponement of parenthood as well as a reduction in the number of children which are born. The lack of accommodation for young families is a very negative factor. The destruction phase of population development generally comes to an end when growth t endencies start to be revealed. It can also be presumed for the population of Slovakia that the negative development tendencies which were observed will not be a permanent manifestation. We can expect a positive influence of social measures which promote childbirth and, with time, also the compensation and development trends within the economy. It is very probable that the birth rate, the growth rate of the population and the reproduction rate will rise, without however exceeding the level from the year 1990
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