, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 1195–1232 | Cite as

Partners’ Educational Pairings and Fertility Across Europe

  • Natalie NitscheEmail author
  • Anna Matysiak
  • Jan Van Bavel
  • Daniele Vignoli


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.


Fertility Education Couples Family Europe 



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.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie Nitsche
    • 1
    Email author
  • 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

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