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


  • Monika A. Mynarska

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


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Monika A. Mynarska, 2007. "Fertility postponement and age norms in Poland: is there a deadline for parenthood?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2007-029, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2007-029

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francesco C. Billari & Hans-Peter Kohler, 2002. "Patterns of lowest-low fertility in Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-040, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    3. 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 WP-2006-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Francesco C. Billari & Chris Wilson, 2001. "Convergence towards diversity? Cohort dynamics in the transition to adulthood in contemporary Western Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-039, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. repec:cai:poeine:pope_202_0301 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2005. "Economic uncertainty and fertility postponement: evidence from German panel data," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-034, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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