Demography

pp 1–38 | Cite as

Partners’ Educational Pairings and Fertility Across Europe

  • Natalie Nitsche
  • Anna Matysiak
  • Jan Van Bavel
  • Daniele Vignoli
Article

Abstract

We provide new evidence on the education-fertility relationship by using EU-SILC panel data on 24 European countries to investigate how couples’ educational pairings predict their childbearing behavior. We focus on differences in first-, second-, and third-birth rates among couples with varying combinations of partners’ education. Our results show important differences in how education relates to parity progressions depending on the education of the partner. First, highly educated homogamous couples show a distinct childbearing behavior in most country clusters. They tend to postpone the first birth most and display the highest second- and third-birth rates. Second, contrary to what may be expected based on the “new home economics” approach, hypergamous couples with a highly educated male and a lower-educated female partner display among the lowest second-birth transitions. Our findings underscore the relevance of interacting both partners’ education for a better understanding of the education-fertility relationship.

Keywords

Fertility Education Couples Family Europe 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The research leading to these results is based on a collaborative effort. The authors received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant No. 320116 for the research project FamiliesAndSocieties (Anna Matysiak and Daniele Vignoli) and from the Ministry of Science and High Education in Poland under Grant Agreement No. 2886/7.PR/2013/2 according to financial rules of co-financing FP7 projects from partners’ financial resources (Anna Matysiak); Grant No. 627543 for COUPFER/Marie Curie Action (Natalie Nitsche); ERC Grant Agreement No. 312290 for the GENDERBALL project (Jan Van Bavel); and ERC Grant Agreement No. 284238 for the EURREP project (Anna Matysiak at later stages of the article preparation). Eurostat, the European Commission, and the national statistical offices collecting the data have no responsibility for the results and conclusions drawn in this article on the basis of the EU-SILC data. We are grateful to Tymon Słoczyński for his help at the early stages of this project.

References

  1. Adserà, A. (2005). Vanishing children: From high unemployment to low fertility in developed countries. American Economic Review, 95, 189–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adserà, A. (2011). Where are the babies? Labor market conditions and fertility in Europe. European Journal of Population, 27, 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersson, G. (2008, February). Family policies and fertility in Sweden. Paper presented at the CESifo Conference on Fertility and Public Policy: How to Reverse the Trend of Declining Birth Rates, Munich, Germany. Retrieved from https://www.cesifo-group.de/ifoHome/events/Archive/conferences/2008/02/2008-02-01-event-ConfCESifo/Programme.html
  4. Bauer, G., & Jacob, M. (2010). Fertilitätsentscheidungen im Partnerschaftskontext [Fertility decisions in the partnership context]. KZfSS Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 62, 31–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beaujouan, E., Brzozowska, Z., & Zeman, K. (2015). Childlessness trends in twentieth-century Europe: Limited link to growing educational attainment (Vienna Institute of Demography Working Papers No. 6/2015). Vienna, Austria: Vienna Institute of Demography.Google Scholar
  6. Becker, G. S. (1993). A treatise of the family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Becker, G. S., & Lewis, H. G. (1974). Interaction between quantity and quality of children. In T. W. Schultz (Ed.), Economics of the family: Marriage, children, and human capital (pp. 81–90). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Berrington, A., & Pattaro, S. (2014). Educational differences in fertility desires, intentions and behaviour: A life course perspective. Advances in Life Course Research, 21, 10–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bianchi, S. M., Sayer, L. C., Milkie, M. A., & Robinson, J. P. (2012). Housework: Who did, does or will do it, and how much does it matter? Social Forces, 91, 55–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blood, R. O., & Wolf, D. M. (1960). Husbands & wives: The dynamics of married living. New York, NY: Free Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bulatao, R. A. (1981). Values and disvalues of children in successive childbearing decisions. Demography, 18, 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Corijn, M., Liefbroer, A., & de Jong Gierveld, J. (1996). It takes two to tango, doesn’t it? The influence of couple characteristics on the timing of the first child. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59, 117–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. De Hauw, Y., Grow, A., & Van Bavel, J. (2017). The reversed gender gap in education and assortative mating in Europe. European Journal of Population, 33, 445–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. de Ruijter, E., Treas, J. K., & Cohen, P. N. (2005). Outsourcing the gender factory: Living arrangements and service expenditures on female and male tasks. Social Forces, 84, 305–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DiPrete, T. A., & Buchmann, C. (2013). The rise of women: The growing gender gap in education and what it means for American schools. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  16. Dotti Sani, G. M. (2014). Men’s employment hours and time on domestic chores in European countries. Journal of Family Issues, 35, 1023–1047.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dribe, M., & Stanfors, M. (2010). Family life in power couples: Continued childbearing and union stability among the educational elite in Sweden, 1991–2005. Demographic Research, 23(article 30), 847–877.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2010.23.30 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ellingsæter, A. L. (2009). Leave policy in the Nordic welfare states: A “recipe” for high employment/high fertility? Community, Work & Family, 12, 1–19.Google Scholar
  19. Esping-Andersen, G., & Billari, F. C. (2015). Re-theorizing family demographics. Population and Development Review, 41, 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Esteve, A., García-Román, J., & Permanyer, I. (2012). The gender-gap reversal in education and its effect on union formation: The end of hypergamy? Population and Development Review, 38, 535–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Esteve, A., Schwartz, C. R., Van Bavel, J., Permanyer, I., Klesment, M., & Garcia, J. (2016). The end of hypergamy: Global trends and implications. Population and Development Review, 42, 615–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. European Commission Eurostat. (2010). Longitudinal EU-SILC files (2005–2012) [Dataset]. Releases from 15-09-2007, 01-03-2009, 01-08-2011, 01-03-2012, 01-03-2013, 01-08-2014, 01-08-2014, and 01-08-2014. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg: European Commission, Eurostat.Google Scholar
  23. Frejka, T., & Gietel-Basten, S. (2016). Fertility and family policies in Central and Eastern Europe after 1990. Comparative Population Studies, 41, 3–56.Google Scholar
  24. Gerster, M., Keiding, N., Knudsen, L. B., & Strandberg-Larsen, K. (2007). Education and second birth rates in Denmark 1981–1994. Demographic Research, 17(article 8), 181–210.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2007.17.8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goldscheider, F., Bernhardt, E., & Lappegård, T. (2015). The gender revolution: A framework for understanding changing family and demographic behavior. Population and Development Review, 41, 207–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gonalons-Pons, P. (2015). Gender and class housework inequalities in the era of outsourcing hiring domestic work in Spain. Social Science Research, 52, 208–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gornick, J. C., Meyers, M. K., & Ross, K. E. (1997). Supporting the employment of mothers: Policy variations across fourteen welfare states. Journal of European Social Policy, 7, 45–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gottard, A., Mattei, A., & Vignoli, D. (2015). The relationship between education and fertility in the presence of a time varying frailty component. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A: Statistics in Society, 178, 863–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Greulich, A., & Dasré, A. (2017). The quality of periodic fertility measures in EU-SILC. Demographic Research, 36(article 17), 525–556.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2017.36.17 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Grow, A., & Van Bavel, J. (2015). Assortative mating and the reversal of gender inequality in education in Europe: An agent-based model. PLoS One, 10(6), e0127806.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127806 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gustafsson, S. (2001). Optimal age at motherhood: Theoretical and empirical considerations on postponement of maternity in Europe. Journal of Population Economics, 14, 225–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hank, K., Kreyenfeld, M., & Spieß, C. K. (2004). Kinderbetreuung und fertilität in Deutschland [Childcare and fertility in Germany]. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 33, 228–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hook, J. L. (2006). Care in context: Men’s unpaid work in 20 countries, 1965–2003. American Sociological Review, 71, 639–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hou, F., & Myles, J. (2008). The changing role of education in the marriage market: Assortative marriage in Canada and the United States since the 1970s. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 33, 337–366.Google Scholar
  35. Iacovou, M., Kaminska, O., & Levy, H. (2012). Using EU-SILC data for cross-national analysis: Strengths, problems and recommendations (ISER Working Paper Series No. 2012-03). Essex, UK: University of Essex, Institute for Social and Economic Research.Google Scholar
  36. Jalovaara, M., & Miettinen, A. (2013). Does his paycheck also matter? The socioeconomic resources of co-residential partners and entry into parenthood in Finland. Demographic Research, 28(article 31), 881–916.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2013.28.31 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kane, E. W. (1995). Education and beliefs about gender inequality. Social Problems, 42, 74–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Killewald, A. (2011). Opting out and buying out: Wives’ earnings and housework time. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73, 459–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Klesment, M., Puur, A., Rahnu, L., & Sakkeus, L. (2014). Varying association between education and second births in Europe: Comparative analysis based on the EU-SILC data. Demographic Research, 31(article 27), 813–860.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2014.31.27 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Klesment, M., & Van Bavel, J. (2017). The reversal of the gender gap in education, motherhood, and women as main earners in Europe. European Sociological Review, 33, 1–15.Google Scholar
  41. Kravdal, Ø. (2001). The high fertility of college educated women in Norway: An artefact of the separate modelling of each parity transition. Demographic Research, 5(article 6), 187–216.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2001.5.6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kravdal, Ø., & Rindfuss, R. R. (2008). Changing relationships between education and fertility: A study of women and men born 1940 to 1964. American Sociological Review, 73, 854–873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kreyenfeld, M. (2002). Time squeeze, partner effect or self-selection? An investigation into the positive effect of women’s education on second birth risks in West Germany. Demographic Research, 7(article 2), 15–48.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2002.7.2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kreyenfeld, M., & Heintz-Martin, V. (2015). Fertility after separation: Second births in higher order unions in Germany (FamiliesAndSocieties Working Paper Series No. 28). Brussels, Belgium: European Commission, Research and Innovation. Retrieved from http://www.familiesandsocieties.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/WP28KreyenfeldHeintzMartin2015.pdf
  45. Lappegård, T. (2010). Family policies and fertility in Norway. European Journal of Population, 26, 99–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lewin-Epstein, N., Stier, H., & Braun, M. (2006). The division of household labor in Germany and Israel. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 1147–1164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lichter, D. T., Sassler, S., & Turner, R. N. (2014). Cohabitation, post-conception unions, and the rise in nonmarital fertility. Social Science Research, 47, 134–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mäenpää, E., & Jalovaara, M. (2015). Achievement replacing ascription? Changes in homogamy in education and social class origins in Finland. Advances in Life Course Research, 26, 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Margolis, R., & Myrskylä, M. (2015). Parental well-being surrounding first birth as a determinant of further parity progression. Demography, 52, 1147–1166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Matysiak, A. (2011). Fertility developments in Central and Eastern Europe: The role of work-family tensions. Demográfia – English Edition, 54(5), 7–30.Google Scholar
  51. Matysiak, A., & Vignoli, D. (2013). Diverse effects of women’s employment on fertility: Insights from Italy and Poland. European Journal of Population, 29, 273–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Matysiak, A., & Węziak-Białowolska, D. (2016). Country-specific conditions for work and family reconciliation: An attempt at quantification. European Journal of Population, 32, 475–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mencarini, L., & Vignoli, D. (2018). Employed women and marital union stability: It helps when men help. Journal of Family Issues, 39, 1348–1373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Miettinen, A., Rotkirch, A., Szalma, I., Donno, A., & Tanturri, M. L. (2015). Increasing childlessness in Europe: Time trends and country differences (FamiliesAndSocieties Working Papers Series No. 33). Brussels, Belgium: European Commission, Research and Innovation. Retrieved from http://www.familiesandsocieties.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/WP33MiettinenEtAl2015.pdf
  55. Mood, C. (2010). Logistic regression: Why we cannot do what we think we can do, and what we can do about it. European Sociological Review, 26, 67–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Musick, K., England, P., Edgington, S., & Kangas, N. (2009). Education differences in intended and unintended fertility. Social Forces, 88, 543–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Namboodiri, N. K. (1983). Sequential fertility decision making and the life course. In R. A. Bulatao & R. D. Lee (Eds.), Determinants of fertility in developing countries (Vol. 2, pp. 444–472). New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  58. Ní Bhrolcháin, M., & Beaujouan, É. (2012). Fertility postponement is largely due to rising educational enrolment. Population Studies, 66, 311–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Nisén, J., Martikainen, P., Kaprio, J., & Silventoinen, K. (2013). Educational differences in completed fertility: A behavioral genetic study of Finnish male and female twins. Demography, 50, 1399–1420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Nisén, J., Martikainen, P., Silventoinen, K., & Myrskylä, M. (2014). Age-specific fertility by educational level in the Finnish male cohort born 1940–1950. Demographic Research, 31(article 5), 119–136.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2014.31.5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Nitsche, N., & Grunow, D. (2016). Housework over the course of relationships: Gender ideology, resources, and the division of housework from a growth curve perspective. Advances in Life Course Research, 29, 80–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Nitsche, N., & Grunow, D. (Forthcoming). Do economic resources play a role in bargaining child care in couples? Parental investment in cases of matching and mismatching gender ideologies in Germany. European Societies. Google Scholar
  63. Oppenheimer, V. K. (1988). A theory of marriage timing. American Journal of Sociology, 94, 563–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Oppenheimer, V. K. (1994). Women’s rising employment and the future of the family in industrial societies. Population and Development Review, 20, 293–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Oppenheimer, V. K. (1997). Women’s employment and the gain to marriage: The specialization and trading model. Annual Review of Sociology, 23, 431–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2017). Taxing wages 2017. Paris, France: OECD, Center for Tax Policy and Administration. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/ctp/tax-policy/taxing-wages-2017-brochure.pdf
  67. Osiewalska, B. (2017). Childlessness and fertility by couples’ educational gender (in)equality in Austria, Bulgaria, and France. Demographic Research, 37(article 12), 325–362.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2017.37.12 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Ostner, I. (2010). Farewell to the family as we know it: Family policy change in Germany. German Policy Studies, 6, 211–244.Google Scholar
  69. Panayotova, E., & Brayfield, A. (1997). National context and gender ideology: Attitudes toward women’s employment in Hungary and the United States. Gender & Society, 11, 627–655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Pascall, G., & Manning, N. (2000). Gender and social policy: Comparing welfare states in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Journal of European Social Policy, 10, 240–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Perelli-Harris, B., Kreyenfeld, M., Sigle-Rushton, W., Keizer, R., Lappegård, T., Jasilioniene, A., . . . Di Giulio, P. (2012). Changes in union status during the transition to parenthood in eleven European countries, 1970s to early 2000s. Population Studies, 66, 167–182.Google Scholar
  72. Rendall, M., Couet, C., Lappegård, T., Robert-Bobée, I., Rønsen, M., & Smallwood, S. (2005). First births by age and education in Britain, France and Norway. Population Trends, 121, 27–34.Google Scholar
  73. Robila, M. (2012). Family policies in Eastern Europe: A focus on parental leave. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rostgaard, T. (2014). Family policies in Scandinavia (Report). Berlin, Germany: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Retrieved from http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/11106.pdf
  75. Sassler, S., & Goldscheider, F. (2004). Revisiting Jane Austen’s theory of marriage timing: Changes in union formation among American men in the late 20th century. Journal of Family Issues, 25, 139–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Schneider, D., & Hastings, O. P. (2017). Income inequality and household labor. Social Forces, 96, 481–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Schofer, E., & Meyer, J. W. (2005). The worldwide expansion of higher education in the twentieth century. American Sociological Review, 70, 898–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Schwartz, C. R., & Han, H. (2014). The reversal of the gender gap in education and trends in marital dissolution. American Sociological Review, 79, 605–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sobotka, T. (2011). Fertility in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989: Collapse and gradual recovery. Historical Social Research, 36(2), 246–296.Google Scholar
  80. Sobotka, T., Zeman, K., Potančoková, M., Eder, J., Brzozowska, Z., Beaujouan, É., & Matysiak, A. (2015). Fertility datasheet 2015. Vienna, Austria: Vienna Institute of Demography/Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU).Google Scholar
  81. Stange, K. (2011). A longitudinal analysis of the relationship between fertility timing and schooling. Demography, 48, 931–956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Szelewa, D., & Polakowski, M. P. (2008). Who cares? Changing patterns of childcare in Central and Eastern Europe. Journal of European Social Policy, 18, 115–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Tanturri, M. L., & Mencarini, L. (2008). Childless or childfree? Paths to voluntary childlessness in Italy. Population and Development Review, 34, 51–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Testa, M. R. (2014). On the positive correlation between education and fertility intentions in Europe: Individual- and country-level evidence. Advances in Life Course Research, 21, 28–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Testa, M. R., Cavalli, L., & Rosina, A. (2014). The effect of couple disagreement about child-timing intentions: A parity-specific approach. Population and Development Review, 40, 31–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Thévenon, O. (2011). Family policies in OECD countries: A comparative analysis. Population and Development Review, 37, 57–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Thomson, E., & Hoem, J. M. (1998). Couple childbearing plans and births in Sweden. Demography, 35, 315–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Treas, J., & De Ruijter, E. (2008). Earnings and expenditures on household services in married and cohabiting unions. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70, 796–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Treas, J., & Widmer, E. D. (2000). Married women's employment over the life course: Attitudes in cross-national perspective. Social Forces, 78, 1409–1436.Google Scholar
  90. Trimarchi, A., & Van Bavel, J. (2017). Education and the transition to fatherhood: The role of selection into union. Demography, 54, 119–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Van Bavel, J. (2012). The reversal of gender inequality in education, union formation and fertility in Europe. Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 10, 127–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Vandecasteele, L. (2011). Life course risks or cumulative disadvantage? The structuring effect of social stratification determinants and life course events on poverty transitions in Europe. European Sociological Review, 27, 246–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Vignoli, D., Tocchioni, V., & Salvini, S. (2016). Uncertain lives: Insights into the role of job precariousness in union formation in Italy. Demographic Research, 35(article 10), 253–282.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2016.35.10 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender and Society, 1, 125–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Wirth, H. (2007). Kinderlosigkeit von hochqualifizierten Frauen und Männern im Paarkontext: Eine Folge von Bildungshomogamie? [Childlessness of highly qualified women and men in a couple context: A consequence of educational homogamy?] In D. Konietzka and M. Kreyenfeld (Eds.), Ein leben ohne Kinder: Kinderlosigkeit in Deutschland [A life without children: Childlessness in Germany] (pp. 137–170). Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer VS.Google Scholar
  96. Wood, J., Neels, K., & Kil, T. (2014). The educational gradient of childlessness and cohort parity progression in 14 low fertility countries. Demographic Research, 31(article 46), 1365–1416.  https://doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2014.31.46 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Wooldridge, J. M. (2010). Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  98. Zeman, K., Beaujouan, É., Brzozowska, Z., & Sobotka, T. (2017). Cohort fertility decline in low fertility countries: Decomposition using parity progression ratios (Vienna Institute of Demography Working Papers VID WP 03/2017; Human Fertility Database Research Report HFD RR-2017-003). Vienna, Austria: Vienna Institute of Demography. Retrieved from https://www.oeaw.ac.at/fileadmin/subsites/Institute/VID/PDF/Publications/Working_Papers/WP2017_03_HFDRR.pdf

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie Nitsche
    • 1
  • Anna Matysiak
    • 1
  • Jan Van Bavel
    • 2
  • Daniele Vignoli
    • 3
  1. 1.Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)Vienna Institute of Demography/Austrian Academy of SciencesViennaAustria
  2. 2.Centre for Sociological ResearchUniversity of Leuven (KU Leuven)LeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Statistics, Computer Science, ApplicationsUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

Personalised recommendations