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Zsolt Spéder Receives the Title of Doctor of Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Zsolt Spéder, the Director of Hungarian Demographic Research Institute (HDRI) defended his thesis on fertility development in Hungary in international comparison and received the title Doctor of Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The committee appreciated his inspiring career and decades of service for the scientific community.

Mr. Spéder achieved his most important scientific results during his research on the individual and social factors affecting childbearing behaviour in different societal contexts.

Analysing domestic conditions, he developed a unique method of analysing fertility intentions and outcomes and explored how various demographic, socio-economic and behavioural factors influence realization, postponement, abandonment and advancement. Comparing European countries, he demonstrated the heterogeneity of realising fertility intentions, and identified that due to the dynamic societal conditions in post-communist countries, realisation is much lower than in Western countries.

Using the classical tools of demography, he displayed the characteristics of the changed patterns of fertility behaviour. In addition, by analysing social processes in the last three decades in Hungary, he showed that they are quite different from the processes assumed by the Second Demographic Transition Theory.

Among the first to do so, he drew public attention to the issue of fatherhood and changing family roles for men. He pointed out that identity crises among fathers are very common, as well as the dilemma of how to cope with the double expectation of simultaneously being the breadwinner and being involved in day-to-day family duties.

The scientific community has also profited from his professional analyses on the Hungarian family support system for some time. Mr. Spéder proved the effect of governmental family policies on fertility.