Abstract for: Modeling Fertility in Lithuania: A Preliminary Report

The two-decade decline in Lithuania’s population continues unabated, with deaths exceeding births and emigrants outpacing immigrants. The population pattern raises serious issues for policy makers, as an aging population puts pressure on health care facilities and the pension system, and as a shrinking workforce requires an acceleration in labor productivity improvements. This paper addresses one aspect of the demographic problem—fertility—with a model that is part of a larger system dynamics model of Lithuania’s demography and economy. Here, the focus is on explaining Lithuania’s low fertility rate, which plunged below replacement level in 1991 and hovers around 1.5 births per woman today. This paper presents the first system dynamics model of the low-fertility problem in Lithuania, and builds on demographers’ distinction between distant and proximate effects on fertility. Simulation results challenge the conventional wisdom about the prevalence of contraceptive usage in Lithuania.