Childbearing intentions and outcomes among Finnish women

Lassi Lainiala, Population Research Institute, Väestöliitto
Anneli Miettinen, Population Research Institute, Väestöliitto
Anna Rotkirch, Population Research Institute, Väestöliitto

Of Finnish women intending to have a fist or a second child in the near future, 60 % proceeded to do so. We study factors explaining realized intentions and also how uncertainty about childbearing affected fertility. The Finnish Well-being and Social Relationships Survey 2008 (N=1060, 25-39-year-old women) includes information on childbearing ideals and intentions, relationship history and quality, occupational and financial situation, personal well-being, and health. This data was combined with register data on births and unions from 2011, providing a unique opportunity to examine how different factors predict births in a multidimensional way. We use logistic regression analysis, proportional hazard models and structural equation modeling to find the best associations between various factors and childbearing outcomes. First, we build general models and then examine closer how time-dependent fertility intentions as well as uncertainty about having children predict fertility by parity. Results show how different factors affect transition to the first and the second child among respondents who both intend to have a child and were living in a union. Among childless women, higher monthly income of a spouse but also higher monthly family income was positively associated with childbearing. Among mothers of one child, higher relationship quality was positively and spouse´s indecisiveness concerning childbearing was negatively associated with childbearing. Age, sexual satisfaction and relationship duration also significantly affected how intentions were realized. Childbearing in Finland largely corresponds to fertility intentions. Interestingly, among the uncertain or “don´t know”-group fertility outcomes were largely explained by birth control methods, which for other groups did not show significant effects. Women unsure about childbearing who also used less reliable contraception were more likely to have both a first and a second child within three years.

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Presented in Poster Session 2