The Born and Unborn Children of the 1989 Transition: the Effects of the Socio-cultural Circumstances of Giving Birth on Demographic Processes

Project Leader 

Dávid, Beáta


Albert, Fruzsina
Hegedűs, Réka
Husz, Ildikó
Losonczi, Ágnes
Tóth, Olga

The research

In 1989 a group of scientists lead by Ágnes Losonczi from the Sociological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences planned to start a longitudinal panel study among parents expecting their first child in the southern region of the agglomeration of Budapest using Cegléd and Százhalombatta as control settlements. In the first phase of the study 280 women in the last trimester of their pregnancy were asked to fill out standardized questionnaires. In the second phase, they visited the families 3-13 months after giving birth and administered 220 questionnaires and made 50 in-depth interviews with the mothers, plus wherever it was possible fathers were also interviewed. Those positive or negative effects that parents expecting and having their first child are exposed to can be decisive with respect to their willingness to have further children. The empirical substantiation of these causal relations can best be performed using longitudinal (panel) data that is by collecting data on the same participants. The aim of our research would be following up on the life history of the people and families taking part in the research 20 years ago. Besides administering questionnaires to the families visited we would also like to conduct interviews. We would like to investigate the events taking place in the life of families since then, the changes in romantic relationships, the employment history of the mothers’ and fathers’, and also the fact whether (further) children were born or not. Since the study was originally a panel one, we have access to the addresses of the participants. With the help of this, we would be trying to find as many of the families as possible. In an ideal case the number of participants could be close to 750 since besides the mothers and fathers, it would also be possible to directly involve the infants born before the transition (who are 20-year-old adults now). They who grew up in the era of transition are in their twenties now; therefore, they can be considered as a relevant target group with respect to the issues of having children and starting their own families. With the help of this young generation, the effects of family background and socialization on finding a partner and on attitudes about having children could be investigated, as well as the plans these unmarried youngsters have with regard to starting their own family, having children and/or employment.