Determinants of Childbirth in Russia:
A Micro-Data Approach

Kazuhiro Kumo

December 2009
(Revised: May 2010)


This paper uses the micro-data from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) to identify factors that explain fertility between 1995 and 2004.
An overview of nationwide birth dynamics in post-Soviet Russia shows that not only do changes in economic conditions move in lockstep with the overall birth rate trend, as has been pointed out by numerous researchers, but so too do proximate determinants of fertility, and suggests that rises and falls in the total fertility rate in Russia are also affected by factors such as demographic timing effects. Although few studies employing micro data have been conducted, it is frequently argued that the shrinking of the economy during the transition to the market economy was the reason for the decline in the birth rate. However, many demographic researchers and sociologists, particularly in Russia itself, attribute the drop in the country’s birth rate from the 1990s to the long-term population trend, a view that also has widespread acceptance.
While the previous studies all used fertility data up to 2001, this paper analyses data up to 2004, which is significant as the birth rate has shown a sustained rise since 2001. It was shown that household income levels do not have a significant impact on birth probability, and this may indicate the possibility that economic growth did not lead directly to the recovery in the birth rate. This suggests that social conditions in the broad sense may have caused the birth rate to rise. Finally, the paper examines, from a demographic perspective, the measures to encourage couples to have children that were introduced in the last days of the Putin Administration, which ended in May 2008.

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