Generational differences in childbearing within marriage

Ann Evans, Australian National University
Edith E. Gray, Australian National University

The type and timing of family formation has seen rapid change over the past 30 years. Changes in family processes such as cohabitation, divorce and exnuptial childbearing have lead to a greater diversity at the societal and individual levels. At the societal level there are a greater number of family types at any one point in time. Individuals may move through several different family types throughout their life course. This paper addresses patterns of childbearing in relation to marriage. We explore the extent to which children are born within marriage, across more than one marriage, and the timing of births in relation to marriage. An additional consideration is the effect to which prior children and relationships impact the nature of subsequent family formation decisions. To look at the effect over time we compare across birth cohorts. In Australia there are no studies that explore fertility in the context of relationship formation. We know little about the proportion of children born within first or later relationships, or the effect of children from previous relationships on childbearing within current relationships. We examine fertility and marriage across the life course focussing on the following questions: · What proportion of first births occur before first marriage, during first marriage and after first marriage? · Across how many relationships do individuals have children? · How does previous issue of both partners affect fertility? In answering each of these questions we consider the effect of cohort and gender.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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