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Karsten Hank (2002)

On the Structure and Continuity of Regional Fertility Differences in Western Germany after Reunification*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 27, 3/2002, p. 313-326, Opladen: Verlag Leske + Budrich, ISSN: 0340-2398

An analysis of more recent regional data from official statistics confirms the continuation of distinct differences in fertility between Western German districts, together with a remarkable persistence of spatial patterns. The first aspect shown here is that the gap in fertility levels in urban and rural regions has also not closed in the recent past. Furthermore, it becomes clear that the divide between the highest fertility levels in some parts of North Western and Southern Germany, on the one hand, and the lowest values in a number of University cities on the other, has remained wider than the differences observed in the same period between the old and new Federal Länder. For instance, in the mid-90s in Heidelberg a total fertility rate (TFR) of only 0.9 was observed, whilst the rural district of Cloppenburg with a value of 1.9 almost reached the fertility level necessary to replace the population. Further descriptive findings indicate a possible link between the general fertility level of a district and the various structural characteristics such as population density, migration in particular by young families and the regional labour market or occupational structure. With a view to ongoing studies, finally, the possibilities and necessity of carrying out multi-level analyses are emphasised.

* Original title: Zur Struktur und Kontinuität regionaler Fertilitätsunterschiede in Westdeutschland nach der Wiedervereinigung (full text in German only)

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