Familles nombreuses et couples sans enfant. Les déterminants individuels des comportements reproductifs en Italie
In Italy recent estimates for cohorts born after 1960 reveal a large increase in the proportion of childless women and a high proportion of women having just one child. Thus, the lowest parities (0 or 1 child) are now more frequent than the two-child family pattern. The aim of this paper is to delineate the profiles of the women considered « deviant » with respect to the modal two-child family norm. We will consider the background characteristics of women and their partners, as well as couple’s characteristics in the first period of their union. This paper examines the motives given by women for not having had a first or a further child and possible reactions to family policies. The analysis uses data from a survey carried out in five Italian urban areas in 2002. Results show that the group of childless women is the most different from the group of women with a two-child modal pattern ; characteristics associated with low and differential fertility – e.g. higher education and secularization – are still relevant in distinguishing the reproductive behaviour of younger women born around the 1960s ; women having just one child seem to be the group for which policies might be the most successful.
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