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Wed, 04 Sep 2013 02:52:59 EDT by admin, 61993 views
History paper by Szántó, Ildikó (all papers)
Problems of a Declining Hungarian Birth Rate: A Historical Perspective
In sharp contrast to its European neighbors, for over century Hungary has had a seriously declining birth rate. This paper aims to examine this anomaly through a historical perspective by considering the major findings of a series of demographic studies that identify the key factors behind falling levels of fertility. It does so by focusing on four major periods. The first period covers the era prior to the demographic transition that commenced before 1880, and takes into account registers from the eighteenth century, when the demography was characterized by high birth rates and high death rates. The second period is one of demographic transition, between 1880 and 1960. It coincided with modernization, and is the period when death rates fell, while at the same time being accompanied by a decrease in birth rates. The third period is the post-transitional era of 1960-1980; and the fourth covers the post-socialist change of 1990-2010, which – except during the 1970s - has shown a continuous decline in birth rate and population loss.
Significantly, as this paper shows, Hungary was the first country in Europe after the Second World War in which the level of fertility declined far below a level of simple replacement of the population, which is conventionally measured as less than 2.1 births per woman. Since 1981 the population has been declining by about 0.15-0.20 percent per year. At present, fertility in Hungary is one of the lowest in Europe and, in fact, in the whole world. The Hungarian age structure will, moreover, become increasingly problematic as the fertile age group of the population continues to shrink.
Brief Professional Bio:
Ildikó Szántó received her M.A. degree in History from Macquarie University, N.S.W. She has taught interdisciplinary courses focusing on the ideological movements of the twentieth century in East-Central Europe at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences, Pázmány Péter Catholic University and the Budapest Business School.