Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - XXVII IUSSP International Population Conference 26-31 August 2013
Title Fertility increase in Central Asia: Why, how?
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
City Busan
Country/State Republic of Korea
URL http://iussp.org/sites/default/files/event_call_for_papers/Fertility increase in Central​Asia_ThS_20130725.pdf
After a swift decline during the 1990s related to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the period total fertility
rate (TFR) has been stagnating and/or increasing, according to official governmental statistics, in all
countries of Central Asia since the late 1990s-early 2000s. With an increase of almost 59 per cent (1 child
per woman) between the minimum level of fertility in 1999 and its maximum in 2011, the increase of the
period TFR was the higher in Kazakhstan. The fertility increases in the other countries of the region were
less important: 29 per cent (i.e. 0.7 child per woman) between 2001 and 2011 in Kyrgyzstan; 13 per cent
(i.e. 0.43 child per woman) between 2006 and 2010 in Tajikistan and 12 per cent (0.28 child per woman)
between 2003 and 2008 (the last available year) in Uzbekistan. In Turkmenistan, the picture is less clear,
mainly due to a lack of recent consistent data, but the available data suggest fertility stagnation since the
mid-2000s. So far, the reasons behind these increases and stagnations have not been the subject of
strong interest from demographers.
In this study, I take a quasi forensic perspective by investigating different hypotheses that help
understanding better the recent changes in the period TFRs across the region: data artifacts
(improvement in vital registration system (VRS)), population composition effect, economic context and
shifting tempo effect. The comparison of fertility data from the VRS with other estimates from other data
sources and/or estimation methods gives confidence that the recent changes are real and that the data
artifact hypothesis can be ruled out. The most plausible explanations are to be found in the population
composition effect, the economic context and the shifting (fertility) tempo effect. As fertility patterns differ
between ethnic groups, the out-migration of large portions of specific ethnic groups influences ultimately
the course of fertility at the country level. Further, the effect of the diverse economic fortunes among
Central Asian countries is as well considered as a possible factor contributing to the recent fertility trends
in the region.

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