"The structural change model of the demographic transition developed by Easterlin and others is explored empirically by applying the Brown, Durbin and Evans test of structural change to annual data from the transitions of Sweden, Norway, England and Wales, and Finland. The evidence strongly supports the structural change model over traditional models (based on gradual changes in explanatory variables), indicating a supply response of fertility to declining illness and death during the early stages of transition, and a demand response to the death of children during the latter stages, when families are likely to have achieved desired size."
In Sweden, demographers studied labor force participation of 1 child mothers based on data from interviews with 4300 women aged 20-44 in 1981. In 1982, 2 million women and 2.3 million men were employed in Sweden, but 47% of the women worked part time ( 35 hours/week) while only 7% of the men did. The research showed that women are becoming more and more apt to work part time after the birth of their 1st child (prior to 1967, mean 12%; 1968-1974, mean 22%; 1975-1980, mean 35.7%). In addition, 1 child mothers who return to work full time following the 1st birth have a tendency to reduce working hours. Therefore, full time employment for 1 child mothers has become more temporary. On the other hand, 1 child mothers who work part time are more inclined to continue working part time until the next child is born. A positive correlation exists between length of work experience prior to 1st birth and part time work, especially if the length is 5 years. Further, the work experience of women with a low level of education increases the probability of part time work, and less so for highly educated women. Women who have worked for a while and have a more established position in their place of employment are more likely to find and keep a part time job after 1st birth than are women who do not fit this category. This new option for Swedish women of caring for the 1st child and performing domestic duties, and yet still be able to have 1 foot in the door by working part time, is called the combination strategy. Women who are opting for the combination strategy include women, who if lived in the past, would have clearly chosen the homemaker strategy of the career strategy. Further analyses, such as work-life transitions of 2 or child mothers, are needed.
In many Western nations, including England and Wales, Sweden, and the US, there is a current trend towards delayed childbearing because of women's pursuit of a career, later marriage, a longer interval between marriage and the 1st birth, and the increasing number of divorcees having children in a 2nd marriage. Wives of men in social classes I and II in England and Wales are, on average, having their 1st child at 27.9 years, 1.6 years later than in 1973, and in social classes IV and V, 1.0 years later than in 1973, at a mean age of 23.7 years. Consequently, the total period fertility rate for British women aged 30-34 years, 35-39 years, and 40 and over increased by 4%, 2%, and 4%, respectively, between 1982-83, in contrast to reductions of 2% and 3%, respectively, in the 15-19 year and 20-24 year age groups, with the 25-29-year-olds remaining static. The average maternal mortality for all parties in England and Wales during 1976-78 was 106/million for adolescents, 70.4/million for 20-24 year-olds, and 1162/million for those aged 40 years and older. The specific obstetric and allied conditions which increase with age are the hypertensive diseases of pregnancy, hemorrhage, pulmonary embolism, abortion, cardiac disease, caesarean section, ruptured uterus, and amniotic fluid embolism. The Swedish Medical Birth Registry of all live births and perinatal deaths since 1973 has shown that the risk of late fetal death is significantly greater in women aged 30-39 years than in those of the same parity and gravidity aged 20-24 years. The risk of giving birth to low birth weight babies preterm and at term and of premature labor are similarly increased. The early neonatal death rate also was increased for primigravidas and nulliparas in the 30-39 year age group but not in parous women. This is, in part, due to the rise in incidence of fetal abnormalities with advancing maternal age because of chromosomal and nonchromosomal anomalies. These also appear to be the cause of the increased fetal loss from spontaneous abortion. The incidence of dizygotic twins rises steeply over the age of 30 years at a time when the mother is less able to tolerate the increased physiological load. Some women who have postponed childbearing find themselves involuntarily infertile owing to a physiological or pathological decline in fecundity. The physiological decrement because of malfunction of aging ovarian follicles becomes apparent at 35 years and proceeds rapidly after 40 years. From the obstetric perspective, pregnancy is ideal in women aged 20-30 years, tolerable between 30-34 years, undesirable between 35-39 years, an to be avoided after 40 years.
In 1986 Denmark had a population of 5.11 million and an annual growth rate of 0.07%. Education attendance was 100%, and the literacy rate was 99%. The infant mortality rate stood at 7.7/100, and life expectancy averaged 71.5 years for men and 77.5 years for women. Of the work force of 2.5 million, 7% were engaged in agriculture and fisheries, 46% worked in industry and commerce, 13% were in the services sector, and 31% were employed by the government. Denmark's gross domestic product (GDP) was US $57.9 billion in 1985, with an annual growth rate of 3.8% and a per capita income of $11,312. Denmark is a constitutional monarchy, and political life is orderly and democratic. The largest political party, the Social Democratic Party, is closely identified with the labor movement and has held power either alone or in coalition for most of the postwar period. In recent decades, the Danish economy has been characterized by industrial expansion and diversification, as well as continued dependence on foreign trade. Today, almost 60% of total merchandise exports stem from manufactured products and the agricultural share has dropped to 30%. Beginning in the 1960s, the public sector took on an increasing number of new employees. The number of persons employed in local and central government services, especially health and social sectors, increased from 368,000 in 1967 to 678,000 in 1977. .
1977 fertility histories of 4100 Norwegian women between ages 18-44 were used to study the innovation pattern of modern contraception in relation to regional and social variables. 84% of women who could have become pregnant during the 4 weeks prior to this survey had used birth control methods. Only 7% of those not desiring a pregnancy failed to use birth control. The IUD was the most frequently used method of contraception (34%), then condom (22%) and the pill (20%). Women from urban areas were more apt to use IUD and the pills than the more traditonal methods preferred by rural women. Higher percentages of women with higher education use contraception, but patterns of use do not differ significantly among social groups. In summarizing changes in the pattern of use during the 1960's and 1970's, researchers found that age at first birth in Norway is now older, while sexual debuts are occuring earlier.
Fertility trends in the 9 Eastern European socialist countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, USSR, Yugoslavia) are reviewed. Official policy in all these countries but Yugoslavia is explicitly pronatalist to varying degrees. Attention is directed to the following areas: similarities and differences; fertility trends (historical trends, post World War 2 trends, and family size); abortion trends (abortion legislation history, current legislation, abortion data, impact on birth rates, abortion seekers, health risks, and psychological aftereffects); contraceptive availability and practice; pronatal economic incentives (impact on fertility); women's position; and marriage, divorce, and sexual attitudes. The fact that fertility was generally higher in the Eastern European socialist countries than in Western Europe in the mid-1970s is credited to pronatalist measures undertaken when fertility fell or threatened to fall below replacement level (2.1 births/woman) after abortion was liberalized in all countries but Albania, following the lead of the USSR in 1955. Fertility increased where access to abortion was again restricted (mildly in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary at various times, and severely in Romania in 1966) and/or economic incentives such as birth grants, paid maternity leave, family and child care allowances, and low interest loans to newlyweds were substantially increased (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland to some extent, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the German Democratic Republic in 1976). Subsequent declines in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania suggest that policy induced increases in fertility are short-lived. Couples respond to abortion restrictions by practicing more efficient contraception or resorting to illegal abortion. It is evident that the region's low birth rate is realized mainly with abortion, for withdrawal remains the primary contraceptive method in all countries but Hungary and the German Democratic Republic. It seems that cash incentives have advanced the timing of 1st and 2nd births without substantially increasing the 3rd births required to keep national fertility above replacement level. Demographic factors alone will most likely keep birth rates low in several Eastern European countries during the 1980s and the 1990s. Due to the low birth rates in the 1960s, there will be fewer women in the prime childbearing ages of 20-29 in at least Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Hungary. It becomes clear that policy efforts to influence private reproductive behavior can only be moderately successful if the living conditions are such that women are determined not to have more than 1 or 2 children.
"Examination of the evolution of family models in France and Sweden reveals many similar trends: increase in the divorce rate, fall in marriage and fertility rates, decrease in the size of the average family, increase in the number of single parent families, diversity of rearranged households, etc. However, the authors stress the extent to which the historical and ideological context of this evolution is different in the two countries. Whereas new conjugal models are diffused rapidly in Sweden without provoking reactions of rejection, a certain ideology in France recommends an ideal of conjugal stability and demands a policy openly favouring an increased birth rate. The Swedes find contraception and abortion natural whereas they are still the subject of impassioned debates in France. The attitude to children is very different in the two countries. However, in both cases, although the evolution of family ties still has an experimental aspect it seems sufficiently radical to make it necessary to rethink the nature of social ties in general." (SUMMARY IN ENG)
In Iceland there has been a steady decrease in the annual birthrate, presently 16-17, since 1964. Decrease in the birthrate after 1964 coincided with the introduction of oral contraceptives (OCs) and IUDs in 1961-1963. OC use has increased markedly. Within a few years of its introduction, over 40% of the women in Iceland were OC users. Recently, there has been a slight decline in OC use, particularly among women aged over 35 years. Insertion of IUDs began on a small scale in 1963. Currently, over 30% of the women in Iceland use IUDs. Diaphragms, spermicides and condoms have been available for decades and continue to be in common use throughout Iceland. Information regarding contraception has been easily available, and this appears to explain the rather low abortion rate. In 1975 parliament passed new legislation on abortion and sterilization. The incidence of induced abortion was at that time about 5% of total deliveries. The 5-year period since 1976 shows a steady increase in the number of abortions to about 10% of total deliveries. The number of women aged over 30, and particularly over 35 years, seeking sterilization has increased every year since 1975.
"The association between divorce risks in first marriage and the timing of the first birth is inspected in a life-table analysis of registered birth and marriage histories from Norway. One of the main conclusions is that the high propensity to divorce among women who have had a premarital birth is not confined to those who marry someone other than the father of their child. Also, women who have had a premarital child with their husband, run a much higher risk of marital breakup than do those who had their first baby in wedlock....It is argued that couples who postpone childbearing beyond two years of marriage may have particularly low divorce rates." (SUMMARY IN FRE)