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Culture's influence regionally differing social milieus and variations in fertility rates

Barbara Fulda

No 15/4, MPIfG Discussion Paper from Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Abstract: How can we understand subnational differences in fertility rates? The most common explanations see the key to these differences in the socio-structural composition of a region's population and its structural conditions. However, such explanations fail to account for fertility rate differences in regions with similar populations and structures. This paper analyzes two social milieus in southern Germany and argues that variations in their fertility rates can only be understood through their cultural differences. Family extension patterns as well as opportunity structures (such as the availability of childcare facilities) are substantially influenced by the regionally differing cultural norms formed and held by social milieu members. To better explain differences in fertility rates and to understand the regionally differing effects of family policy measures, demographic research therefore needs to include culture in its understanding of demographic behavior.

Date: 2015
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul and nep-ure
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