Demography

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 911–931 | Cite as

Resolved Parental Infertility and Children’s Educational Achievement

Article

Abstract

Although difficulty conceiving a child has long been a major medical and social preoccupation, it has not been considered as a predictor of long-term outcomes in children ultimately conceived. This is consistent with a broader gap in knowledge regarding the consequences of parental health for educational performance in offspring. Here we address that omission, asking how resolved parental infertility relates to children’s academic achievement. In a sample of all Swedish births between 1988 and 1995, we find that involuntary childlessness prior to either a first or a second birth is associated with lower academic achievement (both test scores and GPA) in children at age 16, even if the period of infertility was prior to a sibling’s birth rather than the child’s own. Our results support a conceptualization of infertility as a cumulative physical and social experience with effects extending well beyond the point at which a child is born, and emphasize the need to better understand how specific parental health conditions constrain children’s educational outcomes.

Keywords

Education Achievement Infertility Parental health GPA 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge funding from the Centre for Economic Demography and from the Cornell Population Center, and additionally thank participants at the seminars in the Centre for Economic Demography and the Cornell Population Center, who provided invaluable feedback on this manuscript.

Supplementary material

13524_2017_573_MOESM1_ESM.docx (152 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 151 kb)

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Economic Demography and Department of Economic HistoryLund UniversityLundSweden

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