Impact of Regional Factors on Cohort Fertility: New Estimations at the District Level in Germany


  • Martin Bujard Federal Institute for Population Research. Germany
  • Melanie Scheller Federal Statistical Office. Germany



Cohort fertility, Population geography, Regional context, Urbanisation, Germany, Census


Incorporating the regional context into fertility research has a long standing tradition. However, in Germany, fertility data at the district level only exist for period total fertility rates (TFR), but not for cohort total fertility rates (CTFR). Based on the 2011 census and birth statistics, we estimate the CTFR at the district level and analyse factors influencing their variation.

First, we estimate the CTFR for the 1969-72 cohorts in all 402 German districts. The estimated CTFR differ strongly across German districts ranging between 1.05 and 2.01. Further, the estimated CTFR differ substantially from the known TFR values. This is mainly due to biases in the tempo component of the TFR, which are crucial in East German districts, university cities and in urban-rural comparisons. Therefore, the estimated CTFR allow for a better assessment of fertility differences across districts.

Second, we analyse the differences in the newly estimated CTFR employing regression models. Composition effects such as a low proportion of highly educated women, a high share of Catholics or immigrants are significantly associated with higher CTFR in West German districts. However, regional opportunities are also important: A low population density, the availability of relatively spacious dwellings, a surplus of males, a small service sector and low unemployment rates are associated with higher fertility. Overall the analyses show regional factors are highly relevant for fertility.



How to Cite

Bujard, M. and Scheller, M. 2017. Impact of Regional Factors on Cohort Fertility: New Estimations at the District Level in Germany. Comparative Population Studies. 42, (Jul. 2017). DOI:



Research Articles