The Usefulness of Describing Childbirths from Different Perspectives – Some Example from a Hungarian Birth Cohort Study

Balázs Kapitány , Hungarian Demographic Research Institute

Demographers mostly use the perspective of women when they analyse research questions related to fertility, parity or life-course events. The aim of this paper is very simple: to illustrate the usefulness of parallel perspectives of different ‘stakeholders’, when we describe demographic events related to childbearing. We can look at a demographic phenomenon as childbearing not only from the perspective of woman, but from the perspective of the child or from the father; grandparent, usw. A child cohort study with strong demographic roots – especially when it starts before the birth, as the Cohort '18 – Growing Up In Hungary Study - gives an excellent opportunity for applying and demonstrating these ‘different but parallel’ perspectives. Sometimes the results are similar regardless of the point of view. However, we can find remarkable differences too. For example in the cases of ‘third children’ the chance that a ‘third child’ (using the term from mothers perspective) have more than two siblings is 18%. (Only the full and half-siblings, without step-siblings!). In this situation the chance to have ‘only’ two classical siblings is only 64%. The picture is different again, when we use the point of view of the biological father: 10% of ‘third child’ is a first child of his/her father and 11% is a second one. Finally, the data are different again from the perspective of the ‘family’: 16% of each ‘third child’ is the first common child of her/his parents. The use of parallel perspectives can give new impetus to demographic research.

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