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Persistance of the Past in European Nonmarital Fertility Patterns
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When I posted a 2007 map of the share of European children born out of wedlock from Reddit to Twitter, it generated considerably discussion, including a discussion at Razib Kan’s blog.

europe-nonmarital-fertility-2007

There are many rather interesting patterns here:

  • The Nordics, France, The Former GDR, Estonia, Bulgaria all have high rates out of wedlock births. Most but not all of them are socially liberal; all of them, however, are highly secular and irreligious.
  • There does not seem to be a high correlation between out of wedlock births and total fertility rates. “Traditionalist” Italy, West Germany, and Spain all have low TFRs; conservative and strongly religious Poland has one of the very lowest TFRs in all of Europe.
  • On the other hand, ultraconservative and very religious Far West Ukraine has consistently had some of the very highest TFRs in Europe, along with moderately conservative Ireland and very liberal France, Scandinavia, and Iceland.

A query from Charles Murray provoked me into seeking out its source: A 2015 paper by Sebastian Klüsener, “Spatial variation in non-marital fertility across Europe in the 20th-21st centuries.”

That study is basically a statistical survey of the history of nonmarital fertility (NMF) in Europe in the past three centuries.

Here is a map of nonmarital fertility rates in 1910, just before modern nationstates began to break down traditional marriage folkways through laws and regulations:

europe-nonmarital-fertility-1910

As we can see, there are significant but not overwhelming continuities between 1910 and 2007. Klüsener found a Spearman’s rho correlation of 0.29 between regional out of wedlock shares of births.

What determines NMF?

Klüsener lays out several factors:

  • Economic instability – Favors NMF.
  • Preexisting traditions – Some regions like Iceland and parts of Sweden have always had less of an absolute emphasis on marriage.
  • Laws/Customs – Historically, Jews in Austrian Galicia had children almost entirely within wedlock, but they were not officially registered; hence the unexpectedly rather high share of out of wedlock births across the eastern Habsburg domains in the 1910 map are more a statistical artefact than a reality. Today, similar factors apply to Kosovan Muslims.
  • Agricultural inheritance systems
  • Secularization levels – Favors NMF.
  • Female autonomy and economic participation – Favors NMF.

In Temporal Terms

Initially very low before the early 18th century, NMF became a significant phenomenon in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. He doesn’t mention a cause, but the obvious suspect would be the wellknown secularization of European society after the religious wars of the 17th century.

NMF decreased significantly during the postwar miracle economy years, ushering in the “Golden Age of Marriage.” After 1960, however, this model began breaking down.

europe-nonmarital-fertility-history It began in Northern Europe, and then spread to Western and Central Europe by the 1980s; Southern and Eastern Europe followed in the 1990s, albeit the latter reversed direction from the mid-2000s, presumably due to some combination of economic stabilization and post-Soviet desecularization (indeed, Eastern Europe went from being the region with the highest share of out of wedlock births in the 1950s and 1960s, to the lowest share as of today). NMF in Northern Europe seems to have reached a plateau at around 50%, but continues rising steadily in Western Europe, having reached 64% in France.

The author links this with legislative actions providing greater autonomy for women, which is supported by institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights and the EU. Its worth noting that French laws on marriage and paternity are (in)famously favorable to women, prohibiting paternity testing without both partners’ consent and obligating men to look after “their” children even if they discover they are not theirs. In substantial part, ergo for Sweden. In such a legal environment, coupled with the high secularism rates and expansive welfare states, it is hardly surprising that many men appear to be “striking” against marriage.

In Regional Terms

In the 1910 map, the big cities in the more backward and traditionalist countries – Madrid in Spain, Rome in Italy, Saint Petersburg and Moscow in Russia – stand out, having West European like NMF rates in a sea of near universal traditional marriage patterns.

central-europe-nonmarital-fertilityA century ago and earlier, Germany used to have a general east/west division, in which Bavaria belonged to the high NMF region (this is also mentioned by Emmanuel Todd in The Explanation of Ideology). But while Austria, which also had historically high NMF, remains an NMF hotspot to this day, Bavaria has converged with the rest of Western Germany; the author links this to its adoption of the unified German civil code in 1900, which stated that children born outside marriage were not related to the father and invalidated Bavarian regional legal norms giving out of wedlock children substantial rights.

Switzerland has traditionally had the lowest NMF rates of any Germanic region. Is in any way connected to the fact it was the last major European country to give women the vote?

intermarium-nonmarital-fertility This traditional east German propensity for high NMF (present well before the GDR), even continues to be reflected on the map of Poland today, where the parts previous under German rule continue to have somewhat higher NMF rates than the otherwise very low Polish average (just like the famous map of Polish voting patterns). Poland has traditionally had the lowest NMF rates in East-Central Europe, but since 1990 and especially since 2000 they have started going up sharply. In this case at least, Estonia can into Nordic.

east-europe-nonmarital-fertility In the future, Klüsener suggests increasing convergence between the Protestant and Catholic regions of Europe, as secularization in the latter drives up their NMF rates further. However, the Orthodox regions of Europe may be an exception to the general European pattern due to their “reactionary trend” of rising religiosity and rejection of a “wide range of family formation behaviors that are not in line with traditional norms.” As for the Muslim regions of Europe, their NMF rates remain stable at a very low level.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Demographics, Fertility 
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  1. [Far West Ukraine has consistently had some of the very highest TFRs in Europe]

    Not any more.

    [Initially very low before the early 18th century, NMF became a significant phenomenon in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries]

    More a case of statistical coverage becoming fuller than of any change in behaviour.

    [Bavaria has converged with the rest of Western Germany; the author links this to its adoption of the unified German civil code in 1900, which stated that children born outside marriage were not related to the father and invalidated Bavarian regional legal norms giving out of wedlock children substantial rights]

    The chronology is wrong; it had more to do with the earlier disappearance of Bavarian legislation which strongly discouraged marriage by those without assured means.

    [However, the Orthodox regions of Europe may be an exception to the general European pattern due to their “reactionary trend” of rising religiosity and rejection of a “wide range of family formation behaviors that are not in line with traditional norms.”]

    These assertions of the author do not seem fact-based, more like modern Euro faggotry rearing its ugly head.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    [Far West Ukraine has consistently had some of the very highest TFRs in Europe]

    Not any more.
     
    1. It's still fairly decent by European standards.

    2. The drop is (so far) 1-2 year phenomenon during an acute crisis.
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  2. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    the obvious suspect would be the wellknown secularization of European society after the religious wars of the 17th century

    I don’t think there was any significant secularization back then. The intellectual elites became more secular, yes, and the French revolution was anti-religious, but by and large Europeans did not become less religious then. With the various revivalist movements in Protestant countries, the opposite may have been the case.

    Read More
  3. Klüsener is quite a capacity on that reaearch. I had the luck of attending a course taught by him at the MPI in Rostock.

    In the case of Poland, I assume that a selection effect was at work. While part of the immigration to the annexed German lands after WWII was forced, I assume that another part was migration from Poles wanting to start a new life. Could very well be that the Poles who went westwards were of the more liberal kind (which coincides with the voting patterns).

    In Czechia there seems to be a similar pattern, where nonmarital births are more frequent in the Sudeten and less frequent in the traditional Czech lands.

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  4. @5371
    [Far West Ukraine has consistently had some of the very highest TFRs in Europe]

    Not any more.

    [Initially very low before the early 18th century, NMF became a significant phenomenon in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries]

    More a case of statistical coverage becoming fuller than of any change in behaviour.

    [Bavaria has converged with the rest of Western Germany; the author links this to its adoption of the unified German civil code in 1900, which stated that children born outside marriage were not related to the father and invalidated Bavarian regional legal norms giving out of wedlock children substantial rights]

    The chronology is wrong; it had more to do with the earlier disappearance of Bavarian legislation which strongly discouraged marriage by those without assured means.

    [However, the Orthodox regions of Europe may be an exception to the general European pattern due to their “reactionary trend” of rising religiosity and rejection of a “wide range of family formation behaviors that are not in line with traditional norms.”]

    These assertions of the author do not seem fact-based, more like modern Euro faggotry rearing its ugly head.

    [Far West Ukraine has consistently had some of the very highest TFRs in Europe]

    Not any more.

    1. It’s still fairly decent by European standards.

    2. The drop is (so far) 1-2 year phenomenon during an acute crisis.

    Read More
  5. […] interesting article from the UNZ Review, Persistance of the Past in European Nonmarital Fertility Patterns, compares the level of bastardy in Europe between 1910 and […]

    Read More
  6. My only critique is the oversimplification of France. France is really two societies (excluding the “French by papers” of recent Algerian or African extraction): one traditional and Catholic, and one permissive and modern and while nominally or formerly Catholic more “nordic” and Protestant/Jansenist in its outlook. (This dichotomy is muddied somewhat in the South of France but holds largely true all over the country.) Out-of-wedlock births are extremely rare in the former and very high in the latter. France is NOT however a “progressive” or “liberal” or “tolerant” society *at all*.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rehmat
    French society, like American and British societies are 101% image of Israeli society - one 'on paper", and the other "in practice".

    Last year, when Hollande lead a "one million march" in support of Rothschild-owned Charlie Hebdo's 'freedom of press' rights - his government detained many Muslim and Christian citizens for criticizing the 'official story' of Charlie Hebdo shooting.

    On February 6, 2014, Brian Eads whined at Jewish Newsweek that a great majority of French hates Jews. Why? Because, according to the idiot; they adore French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who supports Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran. Watch a video below.

    https://rehmat1.com/2015/06/07/survey-french-like-muslims-more-since-charlie-hebdo/
  7. Scandinavian co-habitation.

    - No Nordic blood, but a practitioner myself.

    Awesome, except for the friction with an atheist “baby-mama.”

    Read More
  8. @Nico
    My only critique is the oversimplification of France. France is really two societies (excluding the "French by papers" of recent Algerian or African extraction): one traditional and Catholic, and one permissive and modern and while nominally or formerly Catholic more "nordic" and Protestant/Jansenist in its outlook. (This dichotomy is muddied somewhat in the South of France but holds largely true all over the country.) Out-of-wedlock births are extremely rare in the former and very high in the latter. France is NOT however a "progressive" or "liberal" or "tolerant" society *at all*.

    French society, like American and British societies are 101% image of Israeli society – one ‘on paper”, and the other “in practice”.

    Last year, when Hollande lead a “one million march” in support of Rothschild-owned Charlie Hebdo’s ‘freedom of press’ rights – his government detained many Muslim and Christian citizens for criticizing the ‘official story’ of Charlie Hebdo shooting.

    On February 6, 2014, Brian Eads whined at Jewish Newsweek that a great majority of French hates Jews. Why? Because, according to the idiot; they adore French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who supports Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran. Watch a video below.

    https://rehmat1.com/2015/06/07/survey-french-like-muslims-more-since-charlie-hebdo/

    Read More
    • Replies: @Nico
    The French government is extremely hypocritical, far more so than the U.S. government, though not for any relative deficit of character. Obama and company have to keep up a pretense of complying with the First Amendment in the context of 1 the existence of the Second Amendment, the equivalent of which was thrown out when the Nazis invaded France and forced civilians to turn in their arms, which they did not try to get back after Charles de Gaulle and the future NATO took the country; and 2. media focus on the most powerful nation in the world.
  9. NMF decreased significantly during the postwar miracle economy years, ushering in the “Golden Age of Marriage.” After 1960, however, this model began breaking down.

    It began in Northern Europe, and then spread to Western and Central Europe by the 1980s;

    Interesting that the maps suggest higher Nordic NMF rates in both 1910 and in 2007 (supporting the “pre-existing traditions” explanation posited), but the graph suggests that the Nordic countries fully shared the “golden age of marriage” in the 1960s.

    It would be interesting to see earlier data for that graph. Sweden (which must account for a very large part of the data) was not devastated by WW2 or WW1, and had been a notably wealthy and stable society, as far as I’m aware, since early C20th at least.

    I’d have said much of the negative cultural influence on European society in the mid- late C20th was from perniciously liberal US Hollywood film and TV output, and to a lesser extent similarly pernicious BBC output in the UK. Was Sweden much impacted by that? Perhaps it simply operated more rapidly in the Nordic countries because of the “pre-existing traditions”?

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  10. The fertility levels of most European countries are strongly influenced by economic factors. For example, most former-communist countries have a shortage of housing and housing is relatively expensive in relation to wages and economic opportunities. Economic activity in Eastern Europe and Russia is also heavily concentrated in large cities, and there are few opportunities for young people in rural and semi-rural areas. Hence, Slavic countries tend to have lower fertility rates that most countries in Northwest Europe.

    Germany is the most puzzling country – housing is relatively affordable, the economy is pretty stable, and a relatively high proportion of the breeding age population lives in small cities and towns. In theory German fertility rates should be relatively high, but for some reason Germans just aren’t reproducing.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Triumph104
    Germany lacks adequate daycare and elementary/primary school is only half-day.
  11. Thank you for a very interesting analysis. Are you aware of similar work for other geographies? Anything for U.S. states for instance?

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  12. @Rehmat
    French society, like American and British societies are 101% image of Israeli society - one 'on paper", and the other "in practice".

    Last year, when Hollande lead a "one million march" in support of Rothschild-owned Charlie Hebdo's 'freedom of press' rights - his government detained many Muslim and Christian citizens for criticizing the 'official story' of Charlie Hebdo shooting.

    On February 6, 2014, Brian Eads whined at Jewish Newsweek that a great majority of French hates Jews. Why? Because, according to the idiot; they adore French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who supports Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran. Watch a video below.

    https://rehmat1.com/2015/06/07/survey-french-like-muslims-more-since-charlie-hebdo/

    The French government is extremely hypocritical, far more so than the U.S. government, though not for any relative deficit of character. Obama and company have to keep up a pretense of complying with the First Amendment in the context of 1 the existence of the Second Amendment, the equivalent of which was thrown out when the Nazis invaded France and forced civilians to turn in their arms, which they did not try to get back after Charles de Gaulle and the future NATO took the country; and 2. media focus on the most powerful nation in the world.

    Read More
  13. @unpc downunder
    The fertility levels of most European countries are strongly influenced by economic factors. For example, most former-communist countries have a shortage of housing and housing is relatively expensive in relation to wages and economic opportunities. Economic activity in Eastern Europe and Russia is also heavily concentrated in large cities, and there are few opportunities for young people in rural and semi-rural areas. Hence, Slavic countries tend to have lower fertility rates that most countries in Northwest Europe.

    Germany is the most puzzling country - housing is relatively affordable, the economy is pretty stable, and a relatively high proportion of the breeding age population lives in small cities and towns. In theory German fertility rates should be relatively high, but for some reason Germans just aren't reproducing.

    Germany lacks adequate daycare and elementary/primary school is only half-day.

    Read More
  14. Anonymous says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I want to lose more weight than most people so I would like to do this often to keep me on track.

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