A cohort perspective on the fertility postponement transition and low fertility in Central Europe
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Fertility postponement and the concomitant decline in fertility levels are the most prominent trends in the demographic behaviours of the former Eastern Bloc countries in Central Europe. A number of studies have analysed period fertility development but the cohort perspective is often neglected. The postponement transition has evolved over a long time span and affected many cohorts, so the cohort approach is appropriate for studying long-term changes in fertility tempo and quantum. A cohort analysis engenders an analysis in detail of the onset, dynamics and ultimate extent of this process. Using the cohort benchmark model, we have been able to pinpoint differences in postponement and recuperation levels and have combined it with projection scenarios. Thus we have been able to model the hypothetical trajectory of the completed cohort fertility rate. Our analysis highlights differences in the timing of the onset of the postponement transition, its trajectory and extent, as well as in the recuperation of postponed childbearing. These findings suggest differences in completed fertility across the selected four Central European countries are likely to continue and perhaps increase.