Spatial mobility and fertility intentions

Johannes Huinink, University of Bremen
Michael Feldhaus, University of Bremen

Job-related spatial mobility are shown to be negatively correlated with having children, particularly for women, in the literature. However, up to now fertility intentions have not been investigated in this respect. In this paper the effects of commuting arrangements of men and women on the intention to have a child within next two years as well as the probability to realise this intention are addressed. The assumption is that after accounting for other important factors (employment status, level of qualification, type of consensual union, number of children, residential mobility) time consuming commuting is negatively related to a fertility intention of women and its realization. For men effects are supposed to be nonexistent. Longitudinal data from the first three waves of the German Family Panel (pairfam) are used to test the hypotheses. Firstly, a cross-sectional, multivariate probit-regression on the intention to get a child within two years, on being childless, and on medium/long distance commuting is applied. The model shows no significant correlation of circular mobility with an intention to get a child but with the probability of women to be childless. Secondly, a longitudinal difference model on changing fertility intentions between panel wave 1 and 3 is estimated. For women there is evidence of a moderate positive relationship of interrupting medium and long distance commuting and, surprisingly, continuing medium and long distance commuting on the intention to get a child within two years. Thirdly, for men and women who reported a fertility intention in the first wave a Heckman-selection probit-regression on the probability to become pregnant between wave 1 and 3 is estimated. It shows negative effects of medium and long distance commuting on becoming pregnant. Taken together, these findings support assumptions on a characteristically different function circular mobility plays in different phases of the fertility related decision process.

Presented in Session 71: Determinants of fertility intentions