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Fertility postponement and age norms in Poland: is there a deadline for parenthood?

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  • Monika A. Mynarska

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

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    Abstract

    The postponement of childbearing is occurring across Europe, but the paths of this trend differ profoundly from country to country. Especially in Central and Eastern Europe, most women have their first child at a relatively young age. This paper asks about the role of age norms in sustaining the pattern of early motherhood in Poland. The qualitative approach allows us to gain insights into how local culture shapes a positive image of early parenthood. We find a strong influence of socially defined age deadlines on the timing of childbearing. We present how age norms are explained and sanctioned. We argue that early motherhood is strongly connected to the fear of not being able to conceive in older age. And in Polish culture, childless people suffer from extremely negative opinions.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2007-029.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2007-029.

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    Length: 35 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2007-029

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    1. Francesco C. Billari & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2002. "Patterns of lowest-low fertility in Europe," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2002-040, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Laura Bernardi & Andreas Klärner & Holger von der Lippe, 2006. "Perceptions of job instability and the prospects of parenthood. A comparison between Eastern and Western Germany," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2006-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    4. Francesco C. Billari & Chris Wilson, 2001. "Convergence towards diversity? Cohort dynamics in the transition to adulthood in contemporary Western Europe," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2001-039, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2005. "Economic uncertainty and fertility postponement: evidence from German panel data," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2005-034, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    6. Monique Meron & Isabelle Widmer, 2002. "Unemployment Leads Women to Postpone the Birth of Their First Child," Population (english edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 57(2), pages 301-330.
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