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Family Formation in France: Individual Preferences and Subsequent Outcomes

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  • Laurent Toulemon
  • Maria Rita Testa

Abstract

In France, as in all European countries, the birth of a first child has been increasingly delayed over time, but the reasons why individuals decide to postpone the time to become a parent still remain to be deeply investigated at the micro level. In this prospective study we analyse fertility preferences and subsequent reproductive behaviour of childless people, and implement a model that uses desires, or intentions, with their related timing, as key covariates. Results show that desired and intended fertility are a strong predictor of subsequent family formation, even after controlling for the effects of other relevant variables, and people become more realistic about their short-term childbearing plans when asked to assess their personal chance to have a future birth. Moreover, highly educated people anticipate their own transition to parenthood more precisely, as compared to low educated people. Age is the most crucial factor determining the probability to remain involuntarily childless in the interval between the surveys, while persistent childlessness is mostly associated with the lack of a partner if it is a consequence of a deliberate choice to postpone childbearing.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurent Toulemon & Maria Rita Testa, 2006. "Family Formation in France: Individual Preferences and Subsequent Outcomes," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 4(1), pages 41-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:4:y:2006:i:1:p:41-75
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Monique Meron & Isabelle Widmer, 2002. "Les femmes au chômage retardent l'arrivée du premier enfant," Population (french edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 57(2), pages 327-357.
    2. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
    3. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    4. Charles Westoff & Norman Ryder, 1977. "The Predictive Validity Of Reproductive Intentions," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 14(4), pages 431-453, November.
    5. Elizabeth Thomson, 1997. "Couple childbearing desires, intentions, and births," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(3), pages 343-354, August.
    6. S. Morgan, 1981. "Intention and uncertainty at later stages of childbearing: the united states 1965 and 1970," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 18(3), pages 267-285, August.
    7. Elizabeth Thomson & Yvonne Brandreth, 1995. "Measuring fertility demand," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(1), pages 81-96, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kuhnt, Anne-Kristin & Buhr, Petra, 2016. "Biographical risks and their impact on uncertainty in fertility expectations: A gender-specific study based on the German Family Panel," Duisburger Beiträge zur soziologischen Forschung 2016-03, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of Sociology.
    2. Maria Rita Testa & Laura Cavalli & Alessandro Rosina, 2014. "The Effect of Couple Disagreement about Child-Timing Intentions: A Parity-Specific Approach," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 40(1), pages 31-53, March.
    3. Máire Ní Bhrolcháin & Éva Beaujouan, 2011. "Uncertainty in fertility intentions in Britain, 1979-2007," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 99-129.
    4. Maria Rita Testa & Valeria Bordone & Beata Osiewalska & Vegard Skirbekk, 2016. "Are daughters’ childbearing intentions related to their mothers’ socio-economic status?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(21), pages 581-616, September.
    5. repec:eme:ijsepp:ijse-12-2014-0246 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Melinda Mills & Nicoletta Balbo, 2011. "The influence of the family network on the realisation of fertility intentions," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 179-206.
    7. Anne-Kristin Kuhnt & Heike Trappe, 2013. "Easier said than done: childbearing intentions and their realization in a short term perspective," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-018, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    8. Zsolt Spéder & Balázs Kapitány, 2014. "Failure to Realize Fertility Intentions: A Key Aspect of the Post-communist Fertility Transition," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 33(3), pages 393-418, June.
    9. Lars Dommermuth & Jane Klobas & Trude Lappegård, 2014. "Differences in childbearing by time frame of fertility intention. A study using survey and register data from Norway," Discussion Papers 781, Statistics Norway, Research Department.

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