The decline in China’s fertility level: a decomposition analysis

Journal of Biosocial Science 51 (6):785-798 (2019)


Many factors have contributed to the decline in China’s fertility level. Using China’s population census data from 1990, 2000 and 2010, the present study investigates the factors causing the decline in China’s fertility rate by decomposing changes in two fertility indices: the total fertility rate and the net reproduction rate. The change in the TFR is decomposed into the change in the marital fertility rate and the change in the proportion of married women. Four factors contribute to the change in the NRR. The following are the main findings. A drop in the MFR caused a decrease in the TFR and the NRR between 1989 and 2000. However, the change in MFR increased TFR and NRR between 2000 and 2010. Marriage postponement caused a decline in the fertility level between 1989 and 2000 as well as between 2000 and 2010. The effect of the MFR and marriage postponement varied with age and region and also between urban and rural areas.

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