Beyond the Mean: Fertility Behavior in Regional Social Contexts
Demographic trends have long been the subject of public debate in Germany. Discussions center around the financial problems Germany’s social security systems have to face after decades of declining fertility rates. It is therefore surprising to observe that fertility rates have not been declining throughout Germany, but that they differ significantly by region. The existence of regions with high fertility rates contradicts the impression from media reports and demographic studies about fertility behavior in Germany. This dissertation project examines regional differences in birth patterns within Germany in detail, focusing particularly on regions with high fertility rates that cannot be explained by regionally varying characteristics such as the quality and quantity of childcare. It is assumed that reproductive behavior in all regions is influenced by the local social context. Qualitative and quantitative analysis will help to explain the regional differences in birth patterns and to find reasons for their respective variability. Project duration: October 2010 to December 2013.