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Tradition versus development - what matters most for demographic behaviour? The case of fertility, marriage and sex imbalances at birth in Albania.

5th April 2016 1pm, University of Southampton, Building 2, Room 5033

Arjan Gjonca, London School of Economics

Demographers spent a lot of time in trying to answer questions on the deterministic pattern of different demographic outcomes, such as fertility, marriage and cohabitation pattern, child and maternal mortality and many more. One important question, which has been discussed for a long period of time, is what matters most for demographic outcome, values and norms of the society or ideas and development in determining our demographic behaviour, or both. This work which derives from a number of papers addresses this question in Albanian population behaviour with regards to fertility and marriage pattern as well as to sex imbalances at birth. The paper draws from analyses from different datasets, census of 2001 and 2011 as well as a number of surveys such as MICS 2005 and DHS 2009. The results show that development through different pathways (education, social policies etc.) has brought the level of fertility down to one of the lowest in Europe by 2015, 1.5 children per woman, while norms and values have kept the marriage pattern almost unchanged with almost no childbearing outside marriage and most of the Albanian females entering marriage by age of 28 (98% of them). This interplay between values/norms and ideas plays again a significant role to people's preference of boys which is reflected in an imbalanced sex ratio at birth in Albania (113/100 by 2011), similar to those seen in Asia and South Asia. In here again we discuss how come patriarchy and the family norms that come with it are more powerful than development (through education) in predicting these sex imbalances at birth.

Download Presentation File 1 (ptx format)