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Couples’ decisions on having a first child

Author

Listed:
  • Arieke Rijken

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

  • Trudie Knijn

    (Universiteit Utrecht)

Abstract

We investigate the decision-making process of having a first child, using theories on individualisation, lifestyle choices and negotiating partnerships as a starting point. We compare couples who had their first child at a relatively young age with those who had their first child at an older than average age, using data from semi-structured interviews with 33 couples, selected from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS). Although expecting more explicit decision-making among older parents, our qualitative analyses show that decision-making preceding both early and postponed first childbirth is often implicit. Disagreement between partners does not necessarily lead to discussion. Factors that result in the postponement of childbearing, such as higher education, do not always play a conscious role in people’s decision-making processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Arieke Rijken & Trudie Knijn, 2009. "Couples’ decisions on having a first child," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 21(26), pages 765-802, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:21:y:2009:i:26
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    File URL: https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol21/26/21-26.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Elizabeth Thomson & Elaine McDonald & Larry Bumpass, 1990. "Fertility desires and fertility: Hers, his, and theirs," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(4), pages 579-588, November.
    2. Lee Lillard & Linda Waite, 1993. "A joint model of marital childbearing and marital disruption," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(4), pages 653-681, November.
    3. Elizabeth Thomson, 1997. "Couple childbearing desires, intentions, and births," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(3), pages 343-354, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    couple decision-making; early parenthood; first birth; Netherlands; postponement of family formation; qualitative study;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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