State territories and hot and cold spots of non-marital fertility in Europe 1900-2007: a spatial analysis

Sebastian Kluesener, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Brienna Perelli-Harris, University of Southampton
Nora Sánchez Gassen, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Christin Loeffler, University of Rostock

This paper employs an empirical Political Geography approach to investigate the role of political and cultural borders in shaping the geographic pattern of non-marital fertility levels in Europe. Using regional-level data for European states and empires at three points in time (1900, 1960, 2007), we employ descriptive and explorative spatial statistics to analyze how the spatial pattern of non-marital childbearing changes over time. We address two main research questions: (1) Which regions of Europe had over time persistently high or low levels of non-marital fertility and which regions observed substantial temporal discontinuities in non-marital fertility levels? To what extent can these spatio-temporal (dis-)continuities be linked to past and present territories and borders of states and empires and to their policies related to non-marital fertility? (2) In which regions of Europe can we observe the emergence of strong spatial divides in levels of non-marital fertility running along political borders, suggesting that policies played a role in creating this divide? A particular emphasis is placed upon “natural experiment” regions, where culturally and economically similar regions are divided by political borders that may impact the level of non-marital fertility. The emergence or disappearance of distinct patterns of non-marital childbearing along political borders suggests that policies play a role in producing variation over time and space.

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Presented in Poster Session 1