Order-specific fertility behavior in Germany: estimates from perinatal statistics for the period 2001-2008

Michaela Kreyenfeld, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Rembrandt D. Scholz, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Frederik Peters, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Ines I. Wlosnewski, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Until 2008, Germany’s vital statistics did not include information on the biological order of each birth. This resulted in a dearth of important demographic indicators, such as the mean age at first birth and the level of childlessness. Researchers have tried to fill this gap by generating order-specific birth rates from survey data, and by combining survey data with vital statistics. This paper takes a different approach by using hospital statistics on births to generate birth order-specific fertility rates for the period 2001 to 2008. Hospital statistics include information on births that took place in German hospitals. Out-of-hospital deliveries, which account for about two percent of all births, are not included in the hospital data. In a sensitivity analysis, we show how robust our estimates are to the inclusion of out-of-hospital births. Our general assessment is that the hospital data are a valuable source for generating order-specific fertility rates, regardless of whether out-of-hospital births are included.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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