Measuring the Educational Gradient of Period Fertility Behaviour in Europe

Angela Greulich , IEP Sciences Po Paris
Laurent Toulemon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

This article provides new measures allowing comparing within-country differences in current fertility behaviour in Europe. By mobilizing data from the European Union’s Survey of Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), we measure the educational gradient of period fertility for a large set of European countries. A semi-retrospective approach serves to observe fertility behaviour of cohorts which are currently at childbearing age, while at the same time recording the educational level correctly. Bayesian statistics allow us obtaining credible intervals for the age-, education- and parity specific birth probabilities for each country. Our illustrated birth intensities by age put forward in how far differences in the timing of births, which appear during the beginning of the reproductive period between women of different education levels, can result in differences in the quantum of fertility at later ages. The study reveals important cross-country differences in the educational gradient of the timing and intensity of childbearing. This suggests that in several European countries, institutional barriers hinder some groups more than others to realize their fertility intentions. In comparison to studies focussing on cohorts which have already completed fertility, we find that in several European countries, it is not necessarily the highly educated women who are the most constrained when it comes to current fertility behaviour.

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 Presented in Session 129. Education and Fertility