Similarities and dissimilarities of recent demographic changes in Europe. Do European countries converge towards a common demographic pattern?

Jolanta Kurkiewicz, Cracow University of Economics
Ewa Soja, Cracow University of Economics
Oskar Knapik, Cracow University of Economics

The aim of the paper is to determine the clusters of European countries according to recent demographic development. Considering European demographic profiles, what most frequently comes to mind is the historical Hajnal’s line (1965) St. Petersburg – Trieste, dividing Europe – in conformity with nuptiality models – into Western and Eastern areas. This border was still justified in the 1990s. (see A. Monnier and J. Rychtarikova (1991)). Towards the close of XX century, the changes known as socio – economic transition affected Eastern Europe (T. Sobotka (2004)). The demographic situation changed so much that a correction of Hajnal’s classification proved necessary. D. Philipov (2001) introduced a line extending from St. Petersburg to Dubrovnik. The convergence of European countries toward low fertility is discussed in the aspect of the emergence of lowest-low fertility (Kohler, H.-P., F. C. Billari and J. A. Ortega (2002), J. R. Goldstein, T. Sobotka, A. Jasilioniene 2009)). In the face of this process the question arises to what extend the common tendencies - downtrends in nuptiality and fertility, new patterns of family formation, decrease of mortality, ageing of populations - are able to erase existing European “demographic borders”. To formulate the answer the data analysis with Bayesian approach is applied. The main demographic measures describing matrimonial and reproductive behaviour, indicators of mortality, and ageing of the population are considered. Data sources are: Eurostat database, OECD Family database, Word Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision Population Database. Main results: (1) classification of European countries according to the nature of demographic changes, (2) assessment of dissimilarities between homogenous areas, (3) evaluation of divergence related to mortality (4) assessment of convergence towards common demographic pattern in Europe. The results are explained on the basis of the Second Demographic Transition theory (D. J. Van de Kaa (2004)).

Presented in Poster Session 1