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Educational differentials in fertility intentions and outcomes: family formation in Flanders in the early 1990s

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  • David De Wachter
  • Karel Neels

Abstract

Over the last decades the majority of European countries have witnessed fertility levels considerably below replacement. Particularly completed cohort fertility below two children per woman has raised concerns whether this trend corresponds to a decline of fertility intentions or represents a discrepancy between intended and realised fertility. Using data from the Fertility and Family Survey (FFS) conducted in 1991, we look at fertility intentions of women aged 20-39 in Flanders, documenting how intentions differ in terms of education of women and their partners, activity status and household position. For a larger group of women, we subsequently compare the effects of these characteristics on first-, second- and third-birth hazards in a prospective study based on longitudinal microdata from the 1991 and 2001 Belgian censuses. Our results indicate that lifetime fertility intentions in 1991 were above the replacement level, but also that the proportion of women having a child in the three-year period following the 1991 census is lower than the short-term intentions suggested in the FFS, particularly for first births. We find evidence of a positive educational gradient in both fertility intentions and birth hazards. For the highly educated, higher birth hazards are associated with a stronger attachment to the labour market (both before and after parenthood), homogamy to highly educated partners and more frequent uptake of (in)formal child care.

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  • David De Wachter & Karel Neels, 2011. "Educational differentials in fertility intentions and outcomes: family formation in Flanders in the early 1990s," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 227-258.
  • Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:9:y:2011:i:1:p:227-258
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonas Wood & Sebastian Klüsener & Karel Neels & Mikko Myrskylä, 2017. "Is a positive link between human development and fertility attainable? Insights from the Belgian vanguard case," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Tim Rie & Ive Marx, 2013. "GINI Country Report: Growing Inequalities and their Impacts in Belgium," GINI Country Reports belgium, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    3. Tony Fahey, 2014. "Family Size as a Social Leveller for Children in the Second Demographic Transition," Working Papers 201413, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    4. Jonas Wood & Karel Neels & Jorik Vergauwen, 2016. "Economic and Institutional Context and Second Births in Seven European Countries," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 35(3), pages 305-325, June.

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