Three Decades on Russia’s Path of the Second Demographic Transition: How Patterns of Fertility are Changing Under an Unstable Demographic Policy
Keywords:Russia, Period and cohort fertility, Parity progression, Second Demographic Transition, Pronatalist policy
This study aims to highlight the changes in fertility patterns of Russians which occurred after the USSR’s dissolution or disintegration, taking a long historical perspective. After that disruption, thirty cohorts were born and raised who never lived under the Soviet system. Fifteen more cohorts (those who were born between 1975 and 1990) remember that system only as a part of childhood, but their adult life started after the iron curtain had fallen and a flood of new ideas and practices spilled into all spheres of life.
At the same time, the increased concern among the Russian elite about the declining population and low birth rates led to the adoption of a pronatalist family policy based on monetarist approaches reinforced by conservative-traditionalist ideology.
Our main research question asks: To what extent did state social and family policies in Russia, which are based on the ideology of traditionalism and conservatism, derail or slow down the modernization of the quantitative and structural parameters of fertility patterns within the Second Demographic Transition context?
Our analysis is based on indicators from period and cohort fertility tables, specific for age and parity. Extrapolations are used for Russia’s female cohorts born 1971-1994 to arrive at expected ultimate fertility outcomes.
Our evidence, obtained from the comprehensive analysis of fertility tables, reveals that the transformation of the Russian fertility model continues to be in line with the Second Demographic Transition common to developed countries, and that two decades of active pronatalist policy in the context of strengthening the conservative family ideology did not stop the modernization of fertility patterns.
* This article belongs to a special issue on “Demographic Developments in Eastern and Western Europe Before and After the Transformation of Socialist Countries”.
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