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Research Urban and Regional Studies Institute PRC

Subregional differences in fertility in Spain

Principal researcher

Alessandra Carioli

Type of research

PhD research


Professor Leo van Wissen  

Summary of the project

This article describes the evolution of fertility in fifty Spanish provinces, provincias, over the last seventy years, from 1940 up to the present day. Regional characteristics of Spain offer an ideal ground to analyse regional paths of fertility behaviour, as it possesses distinctive regional and provincial characteristics both on the cultural and political level, which reflect on fertility behaviour throughout the decades. Fertility transition toward lowest-low fertility levels has been highly heterogeneous across the country reflecting cultural differences (e.g. Catalonia started the decline in fertility much earlier than other regions), migration paths (e.g. out-migration from Galicia, urbanization of Madrid and Barcelona) and economic development (e.g. lagging South with high unemployment rates). In addition, Spain entered the Second Demographic Transition late and with considerable regional variability reaching in little time lowest low levels of fertility. The aim of this article is to explain paths of fertility across fifty Spanish provinces over the last forty years with respect to provincial variation of total fertility rate, while the explanatory variables are associated to fertility related behaviour, migration and economic indicators. In this paper, we assume that fertility behaviour is converging toward a common path of fertility related behaviour and we use means of formal demography to describe provincial differentials and spatial analysis to investigate the spatial dependence and heterogeneity of such paths. The Institudo Nacional de Estadística, INE, supplies an extensive database with detailed information at NUTS3 level, in the 2003 coding, provinces (47), islands (3) on births, parity, nuptiality and other fertility related measures, which constitutes the base for further personal elaboration of data considered for the analysis.


  • Carioli, A. (2008), 'Analysing trends through Schmertmann's model: Italy and Sweden compared'. Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics Università Bocconi, via Guglielmo Röntgen 1, 20136 Milan, Italy.

Last modified:15 July 2020 4.38 p.m.