Skip to main content

Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Dataset | 22 February 2022

Human Fertility Database

The main goal of the Human Fertility Database (HFD) is to provide access to detailed high-quality data on cohort and period fertility to a broad audience of users. We are trying to develop the HFD into an important resource for monitoring; analyzing; comparing; and forecasting fertility as well as for studying causes and consequences of fertility change in the industrialized world. The uniform format of HFD data will facilitate comparative analysis across countries and regions and encourage researchers to move beyond the simple indicators such as the period Total Fertility Rates.

The HFD provides age-; cohort- and (whenever possible) birth-order-specific fertility rates; crude; cumulative and total fertility rates; tempo-adjusted total fertility rates; mean ages at birth; standard deviation in mean ages at birth; parity progression ratios; and also cohort and period fertility tables for national populations or areas. In addition; the HFD provides input data from which these measures and fertility tables are computed. The input data consist of detailed birth counts and estimates of female population exposure obtained from officially recognized sources.

The following features should make the HFD particularly attractive to its users:

  • High level of detail; which will provide the possibility to address different data needs and research questions;
  • Uniformity of methods and data design; which implies comparability of all data across countries; cohorts; and periods;
  • The emphasis on displaying order-specific fertility indicators; which should encourage a higher level of sophistication in fertility analyses and forecasts and further innovation in methodological research on fertility;
  • Free access to all data upon registration.


Human Fertility Database. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Germany) and Vienna Institute of Demography (Austria). Available at (data downloaded on [date]).