Less First Births but Faster as Age at Union Formation Increases in France

Marie-Caroline Compans , University of Vienna (Wittgenstein Centre)
Eva Beaujouan, University of Vienna (Wittgenstein Centre)

First unions and first births are closely related and have been extensively studied as part of the family formation process and in the wider context of transitions to adulthood. This article examines in France how being younger or older at the formation of the first co-residential partnership will determine the occurrence and the timing of a first birth afterwards. Based on data from the Study on Individual and Conjugal Trajectories (Épic, Ined-Insee, 2013–2014), we estimate the net effect of age at first union on the level and the timing of fertility, through respectively logistic regression models and analysis of variance models (ANOVA). As age at first-union formation increases, fewer and fewer men and women become parents. Age largely reflects characteristics related to unions formed at different stages of the life course, and individual characteristics of people more or less prone to begin their partnership history at different ages. However, among those who had a child, a later age at union formation is in itself a factor for accelerating transitions to parenthood. While women may feel more social and biological pressure to conceive, age also seems to be a reason for men to hurry a first birth.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course