Fertility after Separation: Second Births in Higher Order Unions in Western Europe

Michaela Kreyenfeld, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Teresa Castro Martin, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Tina Hannemann, University of Liverpool
Valerie Heintz-Martin, German Youth Institute
Marika Jalovaara, University of Turku
Dimitri Mortelmans, Universiteit Antwerpen
Anne Solaz, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Inge Pasteels, Universiteit Antwerpen
Silvia Meggiolaro, Università di Padova

In this collaborative project, we study fertility dynamics in higher order unions. Our main focus is on the transition to the second child of respondents who separated after first birth. In most countries, including those that we consider in our investigation, we observe a strong “two child norm.” Women and men whose unions terminate after first birth will encounter difficulties to comply to this norm and to space their first two children reasonable close to each other. Against this background, we investigate how disruption alters birth spacing patterns, how it varies by policy context and by gender. Data for this analysis comes from rich survey data from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K as well as from Finish register data. We thus cover behavior for a large fraction of the population in western Europe.

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Presented in Session 226: Fertility in Complex Families