Childbearing Intentions and Economic Uncertainty in Contemporary Europe

Susanne Fahlén, Stockholm University
Livia Olah, Stockholm University

This paper examines the interplay between societal economic conditions, individual economic uncertainty and short-term childbearing intentions in ten European countries representing different institutional contexts and fertility regimes. Using data from the European Social Survey (2004 and 2010), we study i) aggregated short-term childbearing intentions of childless men and women, and of one-child parents in relation to changes in unemployment, employment protection and work-family reconciliation policies and ii) the micro-level association between childbearing intentions and perceived economic uncertainty. Our results indicate that changes in the economic conditions in the society and in work-family reconciliation policies influence people’s short-term childbearing intentions across welfare states, but the effects vary by gender and parity. The micro-level analysis indicates that job security is more important than income security for women's fertility plans. For men, regardless of parity, income security is more important than job security.

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Presented in Session 69: Fertility Intentions: High and Low Fertility Countries