The Onset of Fertility Transition in Central Asia

By Thomas Spoorenberg

This article investigates the implications for the onset of fertility transition of the establishment of socialism in the late 1920s in Central Asia. The fertility levels and trends in the five Central Asian Soviet republics are reconstructed using as many sources and methods as possible. The rapid change and progress that unfolded from the 1930s in the region were followed by an impressive rise in fertility. Interestingly, the fertility increase was circumscribed to women of the indigenous ethnic groups, whereas the fertility of women of European origin remained stable. The case of the Soviet republics of Central Asia illustrates that development may remove a series of biological and behavioural checks upon women’s reproduction, thereby increasing fertility. The study shows the need to reconstruct long-term demographic trends in developing countries in order to revisit their demographic transition and increase our understanding of the global process of the fertility transition.
Supplementary materials :


  • fertility
  • onset of fertility transition
  • Central Asia
  • ethnic groups
  • fertility determinants
  • twentieth century
Go to the article on