The One-Child Family in Europe: A Cross-Country Comparison

Mariana de Araújo Cunha , Nuffield College, University of Oxford

The fertility decline in Europe has led to an increase in the number of women finishing their reproductive period with one or zero children. However, fertility decline alone does not explain this outcome. While most countries in the region are close to or already below-replacement fertility, the prevalence of only-child families varies greatly within the region: from around 5-40%. Moreover, there’s also variation in the trends over time, with some countries maintaining a somewhat constant proportion of only-child families and other presenting a very rapid increase over the cohorts. By using primarily data from the Genders and Generations Survey (GGS) this paper will explore the significant factors that lead women to not progress to a second birth and how does this vary within Europe. This will be done with the use of multivariate logistic models that incorporate demographic, social and cultural variables. The paper will test the importance of postponement of first birth, union status, fertility preferences, prevalence of childlessness, views on the importance of children and the role of women in the family. Only-children are still severely understudied in the social sciences. This paper hopes to contribute to this field by expanding on previous research and adding a cross-country comparison, which will be important to help understand what are the factors behind the heterogeneity in the region in regards to only-child families.

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 Presented in Session 116. The Role of Culture for Childbearing