Rethinking Couples’ Fertility in Spain: Education, Employment and Occupational Homogamy

Xiana Bueno , Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics, Barcelona
Joan García-Román, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), UAB

Fertility decisions among Spanish couples in the last few decades have been strongly driven by economic uncertainty and labor market conditions in a context in which dual-earner couples have become the norm and in which the gender gap in education has reversed. However, the partners’ respective jobs do not have the same weight in such decisions. This paper analyzes fertility from a gender perspective. We explore how the relative education, employment and occupational characteristics of both partners in terms of homogamy can provide insights into couples’ fertility decisions. We use data from the Spanish Labor Force Survey collected between 2002 and 2018. The results suggest a reverse in the negative education-fertility gradient among Spanish couples and show that dual-earner highly educated couples and hypogamous couples have a higher likelihood of having a child, especially when both partners, particularly the female, have job stability. We conclude that the role played by females’ employment in fertility trumps the role played by gender essentialism highlighting the non-exclusive importance of gender egalitarianism, females’ employment and economic uncertainty for fertility.

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 Presented in Session 125. Labour Market Conditions and Fertility