Why are we still unmarried and childless - the Croatian case

Andjelko Akrap, University of Zagreb
Ivan Cipin, University of Zagreb

From the beginning of the 1990s there has been an increase in number of unmarried men and women in over-35 age group in Croatia. Moreover, very low total fertility rate (below 1,5) persists more than a decade with no sign of recovery. However due to the fact that in recent years only 10 percent of all births was out of wedlock, lower nuptiality rates unquestionably contribute to nowadays low fertility rates. In this paper we will investigate factors that can influence a men and woman’s choice to marry and have a child. We will analyze something we defined as so called societal childlessness, i.e. the one that is not a consequence of a biological infertility, as one of the causes of low fertility. Although it is not the main cause of low fertility rates, it is becoming more important among other numerous factors that contribute to very low period fertility rates in Croatia. This paper makes use of data from the survey conducted in 2005-6 by Ministry of Family, Veterans' Affairs and Intergenerational Solidarity in Croatia which showed, on the sample of 714 unmarried and childless men and women aged 35 to 44, main past and present obstacles that discourage men and women from entering into marriage and having children. Based on the survey question whether the respondents plan to have children we were able to identify three groups of childless men and women. Applying multivariate statistics we will investigate existence of difference between their attitudes toward marriage and child bearing. One of the important issues will be to determine to what extent previously mentioned trends were a consequence of voluntarily decision, and more importantly, how much they were caused by the social, economic, sociological, psychological and other factors.

Presented in Poster Session 1