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Research Group: Childlessness and Large Families

The research group is concerned with two processes: increasing childlessness on the one hand and decreasing numbers of large families on the other hand. The two processes in combination are responsible for the decline in birth rates in Germany over the course of the recent decades. However, they are developing in different ways. And, at least partly, they have different causes which the research group has set out to comprehend.

For this reason, the research group is not treating the decline in the birth rate as a uniform trend with uniform causes, but examining its two underlying processes separately: It describes the prevalence and developments of childlessness, that is, of people who never have own children throughout life. It describes the prevalence and developments of large families in the sense of people with three or more own children. It searches for theoretical explanations of why childlessness is more frequent and why large families more rare than they used to be 50 years ago. And it seeks explanations of why childlessness in Germany is more frequent and large families more rare than in many other countries. In doing so the research group is pursuing different approaches and also sheds light on specific presumably relevant influences. This is mirrored in the following projects of the research group.

Research Projects

Projects from other research groups at the BiB also deal with the topics of childlessness and large families. The Family-Related Leitbilder Research Group investigates leitbilder for childlessness and for large families. Mobile careers are also considered a possible cause of childlessness. This is explored by the Research Group on Spatial Mobility. A project within the International Migration Research Group deals with the fertility of female immigrants.

Additional Information


Dr. Detlev Lück

Phone: +49 611 75 2866
Fax: +49 611 75 3960

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© Federal Institute for Population Research - 2018