Priceless Kids? Examining the Impact of Economic Circumstances on Childbearing Intentions of Young Men and Women in Germany

Claudia Geist, University of Utah

Examining fertility intentions in low fertility countries is an important part in understanding future demographic trends. Using three waves of German panel data (PAIRFAM), we examine how economic context affects men's and women's fertility intentions. We focus on the way in which education, labor market status, and income shape the ideal and realistically expected number of children. We also examine what predicts whether young adults compromise their fertility plans and expect to have fewer children than they consider ideal. Our results indicate that fertility ideals and expectations are boosted by economic resources and potential, rather than curtailed as suggested by the opportunity cost approach. We find persistent differences between East and West Germany and we show that women are more likely to expect to have smaller than ideal family sizes, and comprising seems to be more likely among the jobless, and less likely among those with higher income.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors