Error or false statistics?
The Center for System Analysis and Strategic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus has revealed the fact of systematic overestimation of the total fertility rate of rural population of the country, thinktanks.by writes.
This is stated in the "Sociological Almanac" for 2019, prepared by the Institute of Sociology of the NAS.
The article "On some problems of statistical evaluation of the birth rate of rural population in the Republic of Belarus " by senior researcher of the Center for System Analysis and Strategic Studies of the NAS of Belarus A. Dzianisau says that the total birth rate (TBR) in Belarus is considered as the main indicator of the birth rate of the population.
In the national statistics traditionally this indicator is presented in three sections: rural and urban population, the population of the whole country.
At the same time, analysis of the dynamics of the total fertility rate in these sections shows that the main increase in fertility over the period of national demographic security programs was localized among the rural population.
At the same time, if the maximum growth of the TBR among the urban population was only 0.2 children per woman compared to the 2007 level, then among the rural population - 1.5 children.
Moreover, the rural population of the latter group has had a total birth rate of more than 3 children since 2014.
"Thus, if we trust the Belstat data, the birth rate of rural population has shown an unprecedented for post-transitional countries turn of conventional generation indicators from narrowed to extended reproduction. These differences in the dynamics of the TBR have already become a subject for discussion among representatives of the scientific community and government agencies", - the article says.
Its author notes that such significant differences between the rates of TBR of urban and rural population, both absolute and relative, have never been observed during the whole period of national statistical monitoring.
At the same time, the last generation of rural population in Belarus, for whom the total birth rate exceeded 3 children per woman, is the generation of 1914.
The scientist notes that no country in Europe, as well as any other country that completed the second demographic transition, for which there are statistical data, the birth rate of rural population does not reach comparable levels. However, the current level is fully comparable with such countries as Algeria and Pakistan.
In this regard, A. Dzianisau expressed the hypothesis that the data of official statistics contain distortions and until they are eliminated cannot serve as a guide to draw any conclusions about the results of population policy in terms of types of settlements.
The scientist has made a number of calculations as a result of which has established a number of statistical contradictions which confirm this hypothesis.
He determined that "only the obvious excess of the birth rate of rural population by 2015 is at least 0.73 children per woman. Therefore, the total value of the TBR by the end of 2015 should be no more than 2.5 children per woman (the value by Belstat is 3.23 children)".
Moreover, as the author of the work notes, most likely, this value of the total fertility rate in rural areas is not true.