The Human Fertility Database: new resource for demography

Kryštof Zeman, Vienna Institute of Demography
Tomas Sobotka, Vienna Institute of Demography
Aiva Jasilioniene, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Vladimir Shkolnikov, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Dmitri A. Jdanov, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Evgueni Andreev, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Joshua R. Goldstein, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

The Human Fertility Database (HFD) is a joint project of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) and the Vienna Institute of Demography (VID), based at the MPIDR in Rostock, Germany. It provides open and user-friendly access to detailed, well-documented and high-quality data on period and cohort fertility. Special focus is put on birth order-specific data that are frequently not available from usual data sources. Work on the Human Fertility Database began in 2007, largely inspired by the success story of the Human Mortality Database (HMD; The first version of the Database was launched as of 28 September 2009 at The website features period and cohort fertility data as well as parity-specific fertility tables for countries that provide data in sufficient detail and quality. Since its launch, the database has been expanding gradually, with more countries being added and methodology, data checks and documentation improved. By September 2010, up to 15 countries will be included in the database (Austria, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States – with Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, Germany and Portugal to be added soon). Moreover, the project team has established contacts with around 20 other countries. The long-term goal is to establish the HFD as a respected and widely used source of high-quality fertility data for comparative studies that will also stimulate innovative research on fertility data, indicators and methods. The poster aims to display in series of figures the strength of the database in depicting the fertility behaviour across the covered countries, and in comparing the fertility development between them. Fertility indicators such as the period fertility index controlling for age and parity (PATFR), table childlessness, or cohort parity progression ratios, are not available in such a comparative view from any other online database.

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Presented in Poster Session 1