The influence of life events on the short-term stability of fertility intentions – an analysis with the first two waves of the German Family Panel

Petra Buhr, University of Bremen
Anne-Kristin Kuhnt, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Fertility intentions are regarded as good predictors of future fertility behavior. While the determinants of fertility intentions have often been analyzed based on cross-sectional data, little research has been conducted on changes in fertility intentions over the life course. This paper investigates the stability of fertility intentions over a short-term period of one year. Our focus of analysis is how positive and negative life events like changes in the partnership status and the experience of unemployment lead to a change in fertility intentions. Data comes from the first two waves of the German „Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics“ (pairfam). We use multinomial logistic regression models to analyze the determinants of stability, increase or reduction of fertility intentions for childless men and women. In accordance with our expectations we find that positive events increase fertility intentions, while negative events reduce them. All in all changes in partnership status seem to be more important than changes in the employment status for changes in fertility intentions. Another important result is that the effects of the independent variables differ according to the value of the intention variable in wave 1. Having a new partner increases the intention especially if respondents do not intend to have children in wave 1 or if they report to be insecure about their fertility intention.

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Presented in Poster Session 1