Post-Soviet Economic Crisis and Fertility Decline: Parity-Specific Trends in Tajikistan
David Clifford, University of Southampton
The post-Soviet republics of Central Asia have been neglected in the fertility literature. Least of all is known about fertility change in Tajikistan, which experienced the most acute economic downturn in the post-socialist world. Here, given the inadequate nature of official registration data, survey birth history data are used to establish the temporal pattern in total fertility since independence in 1991. The paper finds evidence for a significant decline in fertility. Until the mid-1990s, total fertility decline was effected through a decline in higher order births. The scale and timing of this decline strongly indicates that, as in other ex-Soviet countries, the economic crisis discouraged childbearing in the early post-independence years. After the mid-1990s, fertility decline in Tajikistan was mostly effected through a reduction in the first birth rate. This may reflect a reduction in marriage rates stemming from large-scale male labour migration, itself a response to the economic crisis.