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How Has the Netherlands Managed to Sustain Near-Replacement Fertility?

Policy Briefs - United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Policy Responses to Low Fertility, No. 12

Publisher: New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division; Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 2
Free Download: PDF

 

At first glance, the Netherlands appears to be a "fertility paradox", with moderately high levels of childbearing despite a near total absence of government policies designed to promote fertility. Although fertility began going down in the late 1960s, the Netherlands has consistently maintained a total fertility rate above 1.7 births per woman.

What factors may be contributing to the Netherlands' status as one of the highest fertility countries in Europe? Generous government welfare policies may play a role. Strong and widely accepted cultural norms that support women's roles as mothers and childcare providers may be even more important. Although recent immigrants tend to have somewhat higher fertility than native-born Dutch women, this has not made a strong contribution to the fertility level as a whole.