Educational Differences in Fertility Intentions: A Meta-Analysis

Maria Rita Testa, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Fabian Stephany, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Empirical evidence indicates that more educated women end up with fewer children than less educated women but they do not necessarily intend to have fewer children than the less educated counterparts. Aim of this study is to investigate the conditions under which a positive relationship between women’s educational level and childbearing intentions is observed. Using 44 selected pieces of research, we conduct a meta-analysis of fertility intentions to inspect in a quantitative manner the temporal and cross-country variation of the relationship between fertility intentions and education. Results show that individuals with high education tend to plan larger families than their lower educated counterparts in Europe, but the effect sizes (i.e., differences between the effect of being highly educated and that of being low-educated) are bigger in the Southern European countries and smaller in the Northern European countries. These cross-country differences are explained by using labor market and gender equality indicators.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors