Social Policy and Fertility Change in the Nordic Countries

The Nordic countries are renowned for their systems of social and gender equality, as well as their relatively high fertility. Some of these patterns may be set to change. In a set of comparative analyses, we have demonstrated how cohort fertility and levels of ultimate childlessness have remained relatively stable over recent cohorts of Nordic women and men. However, behind these aggregate patterns of stability, we find both a newly emerging gender similarity and persistent (among men) and new (among women) educational disparities in childbearing outcomes. Further, the 2010s have seen declines in period fertility, which seem to have accelerated during the very last years of the decade. Current research demonstrates an increasing similarity in fertility reactions across the five Nordic countries, with lower parities contributing more strongly to fertility declines. To a large extent, however, the ongoing declines are still a conundrum that motivates new research based on new types of data.