Life-Course Trajectories of Childless Women: Country-Specific or Universal?

Monika Mynarska, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University
Anna Matysiak, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/Ă–AW, WU)
Anna Rybinska, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Valentina Tocchioni, UniversitĂ  di Firenze

There are different paths leading to childlessness and various life-course contingencies that may result in having no offspring. In the paper, we analyze how partnership, education and employment histories intertwine in biographies of women who have never become mothers and investigate whether these biographies are country-specific or universal. To this end, we compare life-course trajectories of childless women within and between five selected countries: Italy, Poland, Germany, the UK, and the USA. The preliminary results reveal a large diversity in life-course pathways related to childlessness within the analyzed countries, while some typical trajectories can be identified in all of them. There are differences, however, in regards to how many women in each country follow a given pathway. In addition, some country-specific biographies have also been identified. By analyzing how the identified types of women are distributed across different countries and different cohorts we aim to better understand the contemporary trends in childlessness.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors