Prospects for a fertility increase in the formerly socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe

Fertility throughout the region is significantly below replacement. Experience with the possible consequences of such fertility levels for individual countries in this region is scarce. It is quite possible that these do not have to be on balance deleterious. Nonetheless, it appears useful to assess future fertility prospects so that national governments and international institutions can act accordingly, i.e. attempt to affect childbearing behavior or to adjust to the respective fertility levels. Furthermore, in a broader context, governments are concerned with the social wellbeing of their populations and are continuously engaged in enacting a range of family policies.

The project, Prospects for a fertility increase in the formerly socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), was a collaborative undertaking of scholars from around 15 formerly socialist countries in CEE to explore the likelihood of reversing recent trends of declining cohort fertility, i.e. of fertility quantum, and raising comparatively low fertility. 

The primary goal of the project was to outline likely fertility trends in the foreseeable future of one to two decades in individual countries of Central and Eastern Europe and possibly for the entire region. Is fertility likely to decline further, stabilize or increase? To this end the project conducted analyses of fertility trends and important conditions affecting them with a distinct focus on family and population policies in about 15 formerly socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It was envisioned that the project would provide an overview of efforts to affect fertility trends in the CEE formerly socialist countries. Finally, the project is designed to evaluate the extent to which population and family policies have been effective in raising fertility, in the past and at present.

Former DSPI Principal Investigator: Stuart Basten

Completed: 2015


Frejka, Tomas, Gietel-Basten, Stuart (2016) " Fertility and Family Policies in Central and Eastern Europe after 1990", Comparative Population Studies EarlyView . doi: