The Trend of Period Fertility in Greece and Its Changes During the Current Economic Recession


Most research on the relationship between economic conditions and fertility has shown that fertility has a procyclical relationship with economic growth. We examine this relationship by investigating the implications of the current economic crisis on fertility in Greece. Given the brief time period since the start of the economic crisis in Greece (a potential methodological limitation), we examine the evolution of fertility from 1960 to 2015, using empirical data provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority and paying special attention to changes during the crisis years. Using these data, age-specific fertility rates by order of birth, total annual fertility rate, and mean age of mothers at childbearing differentiated by birth order are calculated. Our analysis shows that in the 2000s TFR increased as a result of the recuperation of births that were postponed during the late 1980s and the 1990s, and then TFR decreased, especially for first and second order TFR. We attribute the recent fall of TFR to the simultaneous fall of fertility rates of women younger than 30 years. It appears, therefore, that the crisis interrupted the recuperation of births that began in the early 2000s and halted fertility increases among younger ages. Recent changes in fertility are indicative of an accelerated decline of the complete fertility of women born after 1980, mainly because the recession was initiated during a time when the mean age of childbearing was very high (30 years for the first child). These facts do not allow for optimism concerning the reversal of fertility rates of younger generations who are probably going to spend a significant part of their reproductive life under crisis conditions.