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Childbearing developments in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden from the 1970s to the 1990s: a comparison

By Gunnar Andersson

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comparative overview of recent trends and patterns in childbearing in the three Scandinavian countries: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. We use indexes pro-duced by applying event-history techniques to register data of the three countries in order to describe and contrast fertility developments by birth order over the last three decades of the 20th century. By combining the same kind of data from three countries, we get a very accurate picture of various cross-country differences in fertility levels. We can determine to what extent developments in one country are specific to that country and to what extent they are part of a more general Nordic pattern of childbearing. We demonstrate how Swedish fertility has fluctuated relatively strongly during the whole period while Danish and Norwegian fertility have evolved more gradually. Nevertheless, trends in Norway and Sweden appear fairly synchronized. A turnaround from decreasing to increasing levels of childbearing is, for example, evident in 1977 in both Norway and Sweden. In Denmark, a similar turnaround occurs considerably later, in 1983. A shift to shorter birth intervals in Sweden during the 1980s is specific to that country and contributed to its stronger increase in fertility during that decade.Scandinavia, fertility

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