Beginning in the late 1970s, the birth rate declined
mortality increased. By the early 1980s, Hungary's growth
had become one of the lowest in the world. More ominously,
beginning in 1981, deaths outnumbered births. Over the
population decreased absolutely after peaking at a
II high of 10.7 million in 1980. Thus, the 1988 census
that about 10.6 million people lived in the country.
In 1986 the birth rate was 12.1 per 1,000 population,
slightly from the postwar low of 11.8 per 1,000 in 1984.
as recently as 1975 the birth rate had been 18.4 per
in 1948 the birth rate had been 21 per 1,000. One major
for the overall decline of the birth rate appeared to be
increasing number of highly educated and economically
women who, as in other countries, tended to have fewer
Age appeared to play no role in the declining birth rate.
women married at an average age of 24.6 years, a figure
slightly higher than in 1948, when the average age was
the 1980s, the typical family had only two children
dramatic decrease from the final decades of the nineteenth
century, when the average number of children per family
Overall the population of the country was aging. A
proportion of the population was aged fifty-five or older,
increasing from 19.6 percent of the population in 1960 to
percent in 1988. By contrast, in 1988 the proportion of
population under fifteen was about 21 percent, which
decrease of about 4 percent since 1949 and resulted from
declining birth rate.
Marriage rates fell steadily from the mid-970s to the
table 3, Appendix). In 1975 the marriage rate
per 1,000. By 1986 that number had declined to 6.8 per
Moreover, in 1980 for the first time, the number of
that ended because of death or divorce outnumbered the
marriages that took place. In 1980 the number of
ceased" because of death and divorce was 9.2 per 1,000
population. That number rose to 9.3 by 1983, then fell
back to 9.2 by 1986.
Death rates were relatively high, and they were rising.
1986 the death rate was 13.8 per 1,000, as compared with
1,000 in 1975. In 1986 life expectancy averaged
years, up from about sixty-six years in 1975. For women in
the average life span was almost seventy-two years; for
was just under sixty-five years.
Data as of September 1989