On line Data
August, 2007 Issue Prepared by the UNECE Statistical Division, the UNECE Facts and Figures articles are based on data from the UNECE Statistical Database. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inflation remains an issue in some UNECE countries
30 August 2007
The inflation rates remain very uneven across the UNECE region, reflecting in part the ongoing price liberalisation in some countries and differences in the monetary and fiscal stances of their governments. The disparity is also due to the impact of exchange rate movements and vulnerability to the changes in the energy prices on international markets. The chart depicts some more extreme cases of consumer price dynamics in the region particularly in the beginning of 2007.
Over the last few years, inflation remained low and virtually stable in the EU as a whole. However, in some of its member countries (e.g., Latvia and Hungary) consumer prices were rising rapidly since late-2006. At the same time, Kazakhstan and Russia were able to bring the annual inflation rate below 8 per cent in recent months, while in a few other CIS countries, as well as in Turkey, inflation was again in double-digits. In Azerbaijan, the inflationary pressures from oil-related revenues were behind the consumer price escalation during the last twelve months, reinforced in January 2007 by the rise in prices and tariffs of public utilities.
Marriage is less and less popular among the youth
23 August 2007
Marriage trends in recent decades indicate that men and women in the UNECE region have become less likely to marry and when they do it, they do it later. For instance, in a sample of 33 UNECE countries the median value of the mean age at first marriage went from 23 for females and 25 for males in 1980 to about 26 and 28, respectively, in 2000. Indeed, the proportion of married youth in the age group of 18-29 years declined across the region, and in many high- and medium-income countries this decline was more pronounced among young women. The graph illustrates this change over the 1990-2004 period in five selected countries that to some extent represent the ECE region’s diversity in both geographical and income level aspect.
Perceptibly, the pressures to focus on personal achievement and shifts in gender role attitudes and women’s economic prospects have contributed to marriage postponement over time. On the other hand, marriage is losing ground to unmarried cohabitation among the young.
* Data refer to 2000 instead of 2004.
Many women in Europe tend to postpone child birth
14 August 2007
At present, in the Nordic countries women on average have their first child at the age of 28, which is roughly 3.3 years later than in the early 1980’s. A similar pattern of change can be also observed in the ten east European countries depicted in the graph: the mean age of woman at the birth of the first child increased by some three years over the last 25 years. The tendency of postponing childbearing is not constrained to the countries in our sample; it is, in fact, common across Europe.
There are a number of factors that may contribute to this phenomenon. One explanation may be that more women seek to establish a career, hence obtaining financial security before giving birth to their first child. Also in a number of European countries, the recession in the beginning of the 1990’s aggravated the youth’s labour market situation, boosting, in turn, the incentives for the young people to pursue a higher level of education and resulting in the postponement of family formation.
Note: The indicator refers to the weighted average of the different ages, using as weights the age-specific fertility rates of first order births.
* Data for Norway refer to the average of 1986-1990 instead of 1980.