National Territories and the Rise of Nonmarital Fertility across Europe since 1960: From (Nation) States into European Regions?

Sebastian Kluesener, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Nora Sánchez Gassen, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

This paper investigates the role of states and regions in shaping spatial patterns of nonmarital fertility in Europe since 1960 using a dataset of 497 European regions. Prior research by Watkins (1991) has shown that in the first half of the 20th century states played a dominant role in drawing the demographic map of Europe. As a result, subnational regional variation decreased, while differences between countries increased. In this paper, we investigate whether states continue to play such a dominant role in delineating patterns of nonmarital fertility between 1960 and 2007. We find that variation in nonmarital fertility increased across Europe, and states continued to be important for determining these patterns. However, the role of states relative to regions declined in the latest period examined. Possible explanations include increased supranational integration, for example within the European Union, and decentralisation within states leading to increases in variation in subnational contextual conditions.

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Presented in Poster Session 6