Educational differences in fertility desires, intentions and behaviour: a life course perspective

Berrington, A. and Pattaro, S. (2014) Educational differences in fertility desires, intentions and behaviour: a life course perspective. Advances in Life Course Research, 21, pp. 10-27. (doi: 10.1016/j.alcr.2013.12.003) (PMID:26047539)

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Despite a long tradition of studying the relationship between education and fertility outcomes less is known about how educational differences in fertility intentions are formed and translated into achieved births over the life course. This paper provides new insights using data from a large cohort study and Miller’s Traits-Desires-Intentions-Behaviour framework for understanding childbearing. We examine how parental aspirations for education, educational ability in childhood, and educational attainment in young adulthood relate to: males’ and females’ fertility desires in adolescence; fertility intentions in early adulthood; and educational differences in the achievement of fertility intentions. We conclude that family building preferences expressed in adolescence, especially those for the timing of entry into parenthood are shaped by parental socio-economic background, mediated through educational ability and parental expectations for education. In young adulthood, no clear, consistent educational gradient in intended family size is found. However, there is a negative educational gradient in the likelihood of achieving intended births by age 46, especially for women. The findings indicate the importance of educational differences in employment and partnership behaviour in mediating these relationships.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This study has been carried out at the ESRC Centre for Population Change (CPC), a joint initiative between the Universities of Southampton, St Andrews, Dundee, Edinburgh, Stirling, Strathclyde, in partnership with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the National Records of Scotland(NRS).CPCis funded by the UKEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC), grant number RES-625-28-0001. The National Child Development Study is co-ordinated by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), Institute of Education, University of London.
Keywords:Fertility desires, fertility intentions, life course, education.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pattaro, Dr Serena
Authors: Berrington, A., and Pattaro, S.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Advances in Life Course Research
Journal Abbr.:ALCR
Published Online:15 December 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in Advances in Life Course Research 21: 10-27
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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