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  The Human Fertility Database

Vladimir M. Shkolnikov

Tomas Sobotka



The Human Fertility Database (HFD) is a joint project of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany and the Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) in Vienna, Austria, based at MPIDR. We seek to provide free and user-friendly access to detailed, well-documented and high-quality data on period and cohort fertility and thus to facilitate research on changes and inter-country differences in fertility in the past and in the modern era.

The HFD is entirely based on one and the same type of initial data - officially registered birth counts by calendar year, mother's age (and/or cohort) and (whenever possible) biological birth order. These data, together with total female population exposure from the Human Mortality Database (www.mortality.org) and parity-specific female population exposure from selected population censuses, population registers, or large-scale surveys, are further processed using a uniform set of methods. The major HFD output includes detailed data on births, unconditional and conditional fertility rates, cohort and period fertility tables as well as selected aggregate indicators such as total fertility rates, mean ages at childbearing, and parity progression ratios.

We seek to provide open, international access to these data. At present, the database contains detailed period and cohort fertility data for the following countries:

Bulgaria GermanyPortugalTaiwan
CanadaHungaryRussia U.K.
Czech RepublicJapanSlovakiaU.S.A.

The HFD will be continually updated and more countries will be added with time. Below we present countries which are on our "coming next" list. For these countries we provide only age-specific fertility rates based on the original official data. Please be aware that these data have not been fully processed, checked, and corrected and may not be free of mistakes and biases.





For more information, please begin by reading an overview of the database. If you have comments or questions, or trouble gaining access to the data, please contact us.

Joint project of the MPIDR and the VID,
based at the MPIDR