Educational differences in childlessness and multi-partnered fertility among men

Trude Lappegård, Statistics Norway
Marit Rønsen, Statistics Norway
Kari Skrede, Statistics Norway

Rising trends of childlessness in most European societies indicate that family formation and the transition to parenthood represent a greater challenge for young people today than previous generations. Most of the research in this area has focused on female fertility and childlessness, but in order to understand more of the processes underlying these trends, we should also take into account the changes that have taken place in men’s family formation and entrance into fatherhood. The aim of this paper is to investigate the educational differences of men’s fertility pattern focusing on the transition into fatherhood among men and multi-partnered fertility, using Norway as an example. We ask whether increasing diversity in fertility is related to men's educational attainment using longitudinal information from administrative registers on men's fertility and educational attainment. Our data covers all men living in Norway during the period 1970-2006 and allows for a detailed analysis of diversity along a wide range of different educational groups and cohorts. Both differences in transition into fatherhood and multi-partnered fertility can be discussed in relation to different selection processes such as selection by provider ability, attitudes towards gender equality and parenthood and different self-selection processes away from parenthood. The findings from our analysis will be discussed in relation to these possible selection processes in more detail, using educational attainment and field of education as proxies of provider ability and work- and family orientation.

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Presented in Session 61: Education and Fertility

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