DEMOGRAPHIC BEHAVIOUR AND THE MODERNIZATION PROCESS: CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY OF FERTILITY DETERMINANTS IN SLOVAKIA 1930
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In 1930, the population of Slovakia was in the middle of a demographic transition. Various models of fertility behaviour were common, and so were families with high and low numbers of children. This paper looks at the causes of differences in fertility by comparing the level of fertility with economic, social and cultural indicators in 81 districts of Slovakia. The results show that several social and economic factors had a strong relationship with fertility: illiteracy, infant mortality, the proportion of dependence on agriculture and other factors, most of which can be described as measures of the modernization of society. Ethnic and religious structures of the population were less important factors. Also the relationship of fertility with marriage age and the proportion of married were surprisingly weak. The paper discusses possible explanations for the relationship between fertility and indicators, i.e. mechanisms underlying these relations, but the available data do not allow sufficient verification. Instead of finding causal relations, it is possible to show the proxies of general modernization, which would be most effective in estimating the level of fertility. The level of education, which best reflects the change in economic conditions as well as change in values and attitudes of people – both necessary for fertility decline, proved to be such an indicator.
255 – 290
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