Family Attitudes and Fertility Timing in Sweden

Abstract

Employing a novel latent attitude profile approach, as developed by Moors (Eur J Popul 24:33–57, 2008), within the theory of planned behavior, this paper models the association between attitudes and the transition to parenthood. We use survey data from the Young Adult Panel Study (1999) and linked prospective population register data (1999–2009) to investigate the family attitudes and fertility timing of a sample of three birth cohorts in Sweden, a country at the leading edge of family change in Europe. We generate latent attitude profiles of men and women based on attitudes related to the Value of Children, the Second Demographic Transition, and Competing Alternatives. We then show that compared with Children- and Partnership-Oriented individuals, the Partnership-Oriented and Non-Family-Oriented were less likely to transition to parenthood. We found greater diversity in fertility behavior by latent attitude profiles than previous work, suggesting that more attention should be given to the role of attitude profiles in determining modern-day fertility intentions and behavior.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179–211.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Ajzen, I. (2005). Attitudes, personality, and behavior. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ajzen, I., & Klobas, J. (2013). Fertility intentions: An approach based on the theory of planned behavior. Demographic Research, 29(8), 203–232.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Andersson, G. (2008). Family forerunners? Family dynamics in the Nordic countries versus Europe. Paper presented at the Nordic Demographic Symposium, Helsinki.

  5. Bachrach, C. A., & Morgan, S. P. (2013). A cognitive–social model of fertility intentions. Population and Development Review, 39(3), 459–485.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bagozzi, R. P. (1992). The self-regulation of attitudes, intentions, and behavior. Social Psychology Quarterly, 55(2), 178–204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bagozzi, R. P., Baumgartner, J., & Yi, Y. (1989). An investigation into the role of intentions as mediators of the attitude-behavior relationship. Journal of Economic Psychology, 10(1), 35–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bagozzi, R. P., & Yi, Y. (1989). The degree of intention formation as a moderator of the attitude-behavior relationship. Social Psychology Quarterly, 52(4), 266–279.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Balbo, N., Billari, F. C., & Mills, M. (2013). Fertility in advanced societies: a review of research. European Journal of Population/Revue européenne de Démographie, 29(1), 1–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191–215.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Barber, J.S. (2001). Ideational influences on the transition to parenthood: Attitudes toward childbearing and competing alternatives. Social Psychology Quarterly, 101–127.

  12. Beck, U., & Beck-Gernsheim, E. (2002). Individualization: institutionalized individualism and its social and political consequences. London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Bernhardt, E. (2004). Cohabitation or marriage? Preferred living arrangements in Sweden. Austria: Austrian Institute for Family Studies publication.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Billari, F. C., & Philipov, D. (2004). Education and the transition to motherhood: a comparative analysis of Western Europe. European Demographic Research Paper No.3. Vienna Institute of Demography.

  15. Billari, F. C., Philipov, D., & Testa, M. (2009). Attitudes, norms and perceived behavioural control: explaining fertility intentions in Bulgaria. European Journal of Population, 25(4), 439–465.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Billari, F.C., & Wilson, C. (2001). Convergence towards diversity? Cohort dynamics in the transition to adulthood in contemporary Western Europe. MPIDR Working Paper, 2001(39).

  17. Blossfeld, H.-P., & Huinink, J. (1991). Human capital investments or norms of role transition? How women’s schooling and career affect the process of family formation. The American Journal of Sociology, 97(1), 143–168.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Brewster, K. L., & Rindfuss, R. R. (2000). Fertility and women’s employment in industrialized nations. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 271–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Bulatao, R. A. (1981). Values and disvalues of children in successive childbearing decisions. Demography, 18(1), 1–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Butz, W. P., & Ward, M. P. (1979). The emergence of countercyclical U.S. fertility. The American Economic Review, 69(3), 318–328.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Carlson, M., VanOrman, A., & Pilkauskas, N. (2013). Examining the antecedents of U.S. nonmarital fatherhood. Demography, 50(4), 1421–1447.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Castles, F. G. (2003). The world turned upside down: below replacement fertility, changing preferences and family-friendly public policy in 21 OECD countries. Journal of European Social Policy, 13(3), 209–227.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Collins, L. M., & Lanza, S. T. (2010). Latent class and latent transition analysis for the social, behavioral, and health sciences. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  24. De Heer, W. (1999). International response trends: results of an international survey. Journal of Official Statistics, 15, 129–142.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Dearden, K., Hale, C., & Blankson, M. (1994). Family structure, function, and the early transition to fatherhood in Great Britain: Identifying antecedents using longitudinal data. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 844–852.

  26. Dillman, D. A. (1991). The design and administration of mail surveys. Annual Review of Sociology, 17, 225–249.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Dommermuth, L., Klobas, J., & Lappegård, T. (2011). Now or later? The theory of planned behavior and timing of fertility intentions. Advances in Life Course Research, 16(1), 42–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Duvander, A.-Z., & Johansson, M. (2012). What are the effects of reforms promoting fathers’ parental leave use? Journal of European Social Policy, 22(3), 319–330.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Esping-Andersen, G. (2009). Incomplete revolution: adapting welfare states to women’s new roles. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Fawcett, J. T. (1988). The value of children and the transition to parenthood. Marriage & Family Review, 12(3–4), 11–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Foner, N. (1997). The immigrant family: cultural legacies and cultural changes. International Migration Review, 31(4), 961–974.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Goldstein, J. R., Sobotka, T., & Jasilioniene, A. (2009). The end of “lowest-low” fertility? Population and Development Review, 35(4), 663–699.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Gornick, J., & Meyers, M. (2003). Families that work: policies for reconciling parenthood. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Guo, G. (1993). Event-history analysis for left-truncated data. Sociological Methodology, 23, 217–243.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Hoffman, L. W., & Hoffman, M. L. (1973). The value of children to parents. In J. T. Fawcett (Ed.), Psychological perspectives on population (pp. 19–76). New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Holland, J. A. (2013). Love, marriage, then the baby carriage? Marriage timing and childbearing in Sweden. Demographic Research, 29(11), 275–306.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Keizer, R., Dykstra, P. A., & Jansen, M. D. (2008). Pathways into childlessness: evidence of gendered life course dynamics. Journal of Biosocial Science, 40(6), 863.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Lesthaeghe, R. J., & Surkyn, J. (1988). Cultural dynamics and economic theories of fertility change. Population and Development Review, 14(1), 1–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Liefbroer, A. C. (2009). Changes in family size intentions across young adulthood: a life-course perspective. European Journal of Population/Revue Européenne de Démographie, 25(4), 363–386.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. McDonald, P. (2006). Low fertility and the state: the efficacy of policy. Population and Development Review, 32(3), 485.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Miller, W. B. (2011). Comparing the TPB and the TDIB framework. Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, 9, 19–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Mills, M., Rindfuss, R. R., McDonald, P., Velde, E. T., & Force, E. R. S. T. (2011). Why do people postpone parenthood? Reasons and social policy incentives. Human Reproduction Update, 17(6), 848–860.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Misra, J., Budig, M. J., & Moller, S. (2007). Reconciliation policies and the effects of motherhood on employment, earnings and poverty. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 9(2), 135–155.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Moors, G. (2008). The valued child. In search of a latent attitude profile that influences the transition to motherhood. European Journal of Population/Revue Européenne de Démographie, 24(1), 33–57. doi:10.2307/40271477.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Morgan, S. P. (2003). Is low fertility a twenty-first-century demographic crisis? Demography, 40(4), 589–603.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Morgan, K. J. (2006). Working mothers and the welfare state: religion and the politics of work-family policies in Western Europe and the United States. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Morgan, S. P., & Taylor, M. G. (2006). Low fertility at the turn of the twenty-first century. Annual Review of Sociology, 32, 375–399.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Ní Bhrolcháin, M., & Beaujouan, É. (2012). Fertility postponement is largely due to rising educational enrolment. Population Studies, 66(3), 311–327.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. OECD. (2011). OECD factbook 2011–2012: economic, environmental and social statistics. Paris: OECD Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Ohlsson-Wijk, S. (2011). Sweden’s marriage revival: an analysis of the new-millennium switch from long-term decline to increasing popularity. Population Studies: A Journal of Demography, 65(2), 183–200.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Philipov, D. (2009). Fertility intentions and outcomes: The role of policies to close the gap. European Journal of Population/Revue Européenne de Démographie, 25, 355–361.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Quesnel-Vallée, A., & Morgan, S. P. (2003). Missing the target? Correspondence of fertility intentions and behavior in the U.S. Population Research and Policy Review, 22, 497–525.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Settersten, R. A, Jr, Furstenberg, F. F, Jr, & Rumbaut, R. G. (2008). On the frontier of adulthood: theory, research, and public policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Settersten, R. A, Jr, & Ray, B. (2010). What’s going on with young people today? The long and twisting path to adulthood. Transition to Adulthood, 20(1), 19–41.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Singh, S., Sedgh, G., & Hussain, R. (2010). Unintended pregnancy: worldwide levels, trends, and outcomes. Studies in Family Planning, 41(4), 241–250.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Sobotka, T. (2004). Is lowest-low fertility in Europe explained by the postponement of childbearing? Population and Development Review, 30(2), 195–220.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Sobotka, T., & Toulemon, L. (2008). Changing family and partnership behaviour: common trends and persistent diversity across Europe. Demographic Research, 19(6), 85–138.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Statistics Sweden. (2011). Olika generationers barnafödande [Childbearing patterns of different generations]. Demographic reports. Stockholm: Statistics Sweden.

  60. Statistics Sweden. (2013). Summary of Population Statistics 1960–2012. Stockholm: Statistics Sweden.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Surkyn, J., & Lesthaeghe, R. J. (2004). Value orientations and the second demographic transition (SDT) in northern, western and southern Europe: an update. Demographic Research, S3(3), 45–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Thomson, E., & Eriksson, H. (2013). Register-based estimates of parents’ coresidence in Sweden, 1969–2007. Demographic Research, 29(42), 1153–1186.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. van Balen, F., & Inhorn, M. C. (2002). Interpreting infertility, a view from the social sciences. In F. van Balen & M. C. Inhorn (Eds.), Interpreting infertility: childlessness, gender, and reproductive technologies in global perspective (pp. 3–32). Berkeley: UCLA Press.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Van de Kaa, D. J. (1994). The second demographic transition revisited: theories and expectations. In G. C. N. Beets (Ed.), Population and family in the low countries 1993 (pp. 81–126). Lisse: Swets and Zeitlinger.

    Google Scholar 

  65. van Rooij, F. B., van Balen, F., & Hermanns, J. M. A. (2006). Migrants and the meaning of parenthood: involuntary childless Turkish migrants in The Netherlands. Human Reproduction, 21(7), 1832–1838.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge helpful suggestions from Eva Bernhardt, Helga de Valk, Dana Garbarski, Kia Sorensen, Elizabeth Thomson, Kimberly Turner; two anonymous reviewers; and the participants of the international conference on “Changing Families and Fertility Choices,” sponsored by the Research Council of Norway and Statistics Norway (Oslo, Norway; June 2013). This work was supported in part by the European Research Council Starting Grant project “Families of migrant origin: a life course perspective” (project number 263829) and a Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research Veni grant (grant number 016.125.054).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jennifer A. Holland.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Holland, J.A., Keizer, R. Family Attitudes and Fertility Timing in Sweden. Eur J Population 31, 259–285 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10680-014-9333-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Transition to parenthood
  • Fertility
  • Attitudes
  • Sweden
  • Latent class analysis
  • Administrative register data