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Is it who you are or where you live? Community effects on net fertility during the demographic transition in Sweden: a multilevel analysis using micro-census data
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). Lund University, Sweden.
(English)In: Population, Space and Place, ISSN 1544-8444, E-ISSN 1544-8452Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This paper studies contextual effects on fertility at the onset of fertility decline in Sweden. We argue that the community exerts an influence on fertility when individuals belonging to a certain community are more similar to one another (within-area) in their reproductive behaviour than individuals living in another community (between-area). Our hypotheses are that community had a strong influence in the past but that it decreased over time as more individualistic values grew in importance. We expect that the community exerted a greater impact in the low socioeconomic groups as the elite were less constrained by proximity and, therefore, more exposed to new ideas crossing community borders. Using micro-census data from 1880, 1890, and 1900, we use multilevel analysis to estimate measures of intra-class correlation within areas. We measure net fertility by the number of own children under five living in the household to currently married women with their spouses present. Parish is used as proxy for community. Our results indicate that despite average differences in fertility across parishes, the correlation between individuals belonging to the same community is less than 2.5%, that is, only a negligible share of the number of children observed is attributable to true community effects. Contrary to our expectation, we do not find any substantial change over time. However, as expected, community has a greater impact in the low socioeconomic groups. Our findings suggest that it is who you are rather than where you live which explains fertility behaviour during the initial stages of the transition.

Keyword [en]
fertility transition, geographical differences, contextual effects
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-124196DOI: 10.1002/psp.1987OAI: diva2:882524
Available from: 2015-12-15 Created: 2015-12-15 Last updated: 2015-12-15Bibliographically approved

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Juárez, Sol Pía
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Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS)
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Population, Space and Place
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