The socio-economic determinants of childbearing intentions: a macro-micro analysis

Maria Rita Testa, Vienna Institute of Demography

In this paper I investigate the individual and country level socio-economic determinants of child-number and child-timing intentions in Europe. The analysis is based on the Eurobarometer surveys conducted in 2006 and 2011 which contained several questions on childbearing intentions.
Two different sets of multi-level proportional-odds models are used with a response variable equals to the number of additionally intended children or to the timing of the next intended child. The results show that at the individual level child-number intentions are correlated with enduring characteristics of individuals, like religiosity and level of education while child-timing intentions are closely associated with more transient characteristics, like enrolment in education or non-marital status. The perceived behavioural control is an important factor affecting both the number of additionally intended children and the timing of the next intended chid: the more control is perceived the larger the intended family size and the sooner the child is planned.
At the country level the proportion of high educated people positively influences the child-number and the child-timing intentions. This result holds independently on whether individuals are childless or have already one child. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita affects negatively the timing of the next intended child and positively the timing of the second intended child. This results is in line with the positive relationship between Human Development Index and Total fertility Rate observed in the OECD countries (Myrskylä et al.2009).

Presented in Session 71: Determinants of fertility intentions