This is a Russia-specific offshoot to my previous post Where Do Babies Come from?
For reference purposes, here is how Russia’s actual TFR has developed since the end of WW2.
Since I last posted substantially on the topic of Russia fertility preferences in 2009-2010, a lot more data has come in. Here is a survey of opinion polls on Russian expected fertility and ideal fertility since the end of the USSR.
|.||Year||Real TFR||Expected TFR||Ideal TFR|
* First source is Valentina Belova (1975): Число детей в семье [pdf], pp.98 based on ИРУ 1969 survey. Graph for all the Soviet republics is attached on the right.
* I only give the figures for female respondents in the Rosstat studies (male answers are very similar anyway); the WVS and VCIOM data is given for both sexes.
* In Rosstat’s surveys, only women of reproductive age were polled; in the other cases, all age groups were polled.
* Data for Rosstat for 2005 is my own back of the enveloped projection based on results from three Russian provinces (Tver, Nizhny Novgorod, Mari El); I averaged expected and ideal TFR for them, averaged real TFR for them, and added the difference between the latter and Russia’s total TFR in 2005 to the former. The two latter Rosstat studies are the highest powered n’s, asking about 5,000 women; the VCIOM polls queried 2,000 people.
With the exception of the sudden uptick registered in the 2018, ideal fertility seems to be remarkably stable at 2.3 children from the late 1990s, though expected fertility has climbed up from 1.7 children per woman during the 2000s to 1.9 children per woman in the 2010s.
European data from the early 2000s suggests an average ~0.55 child gap between ideal and realized fertility amongst women of reproductive age, which would translate to an expected fertility rate of 2.30 or 2.15 (most recent) – .55 = 1.60-1.75 children per woman for Russia (subtract 0.08 children per woman to get an approximate figure for ethnic Russians).
This is strongly similar to fertility in the past few years, which reached a peak of 1.78 children per woman in 2015 before sharply falling to ~1.59 children per woman last year.
A more pessimistic interpretation is to use the gap observed in Eastern Europe, which in the early 2000s constituted 0.8 children per woman (see average of Visegrad, Baltics, Bulgaria, Romania). This would translate to a long-term expected Russian average of 1.5 children per woman at best. However, at that time, Eastern Europe was in the midst of a painful socio-economic transition, with fertility rebounding across the region since then. This is almost certainly an unwarranted interpretation. It would also put Russia’s real TFR strongly out of sync with its average birth sequence, which has risen from 1.6 children per woman to 1.7 children per woman since the late 2000s [see here].
Prediction: Retreat in Russian TFR observed in 2016-18 will halt, modestly recover, and stabilize at around 1.7 children per woman by 2020.
Though not particularly impressive, nor is it particularly catastrophic, at least by First World standards; in the past decade, the average TFR in the EU has been around 1.55-1.6 children per woman (now probably down to around 1.5 children per woman after the previous two years of global fertility decline). For comparison, US fertility will be down to around 1.73 children per woman in 2018. Incidentally, this would suggest a grand convergence between white TFRs in the world’s three polities (US, EU, Russia) with the largest white populations.
(Incidentally, since we’re now drawing the US into the comparison, for completion’s sake – here is a graph of American desired/ideal fertility is shown at the right; via demographer Lyman Stone. At 2.34 children per woman as of 2012, it is now virtually the same as the Russian figures).
The 2018 VCIOM survey is interesting in that in the past year, this pollster has started including the raw data files. For reference, the .sav file can be downloaded here.
I did some quick tests on it, but didn’t find anything particularly interesting (e.g. that fertility preferences rose slightly with age). But maybe you’ll find something more interesting.
Concerning the specific issue of fertility preferences in the 2017 survey:
1. Desired number of children is highest amongst 30-34 y/o women [2.29 children] and lowest amongst <25 and 40-44 y/o women [2.03 children].
2. Dysgenics angle:
|Ideal TFR||Expected TFR||Ideal TFR||Expected TFR|
|General + Vocational||2.17||1.88||2.15||1.86|
|Incomplete Higher Professional||2.05||1.89||2.13||1.87|
3. Evidence for the heritability of fertility preferences. Much more on that in forthcoming Age of Malthusian Industrialism posts.
|Number of children of respondent’s mother||Women||Men|
|Ideal TFR||Expected TFR||Ideal TFR||Expected TFR|
(3) 40% of Russians say the state should help families have as many children as they want, while 46% go further and say that the state should pursue natalist objectives. Only 13% of women and 15% of men say the state should not interfere with reproductive matters in any way.