Realization of short-term fertility intentions in a comparative perspective: Which macro-level conditions matter?

Zsolt Speder, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute, Budapest

This is the first large-scale comparative study on the fulfilment of short-term fertility intentions across the countries of Europe. Exploiting the unique follow-up feature of the Generations and Gender Survey and adopting rigorous definitions of intentions and outcomes, it reports on the level of fulfilment and identifies clear heterogeneity across the European countries. Adopting a multilevel multivariate approach, it investigates the kind of macro-level factors that may explain differences in the realization of fertility intentions. The modelling includes various individual controlling factors based on previous research, and focuses on working out and testing likely macro-level factors that contribute to an understanding of those country specificities that facilitate or hinder the realization of fertility intentions. Based on our analysis, we conclude that stability on the labour market (as measured by small swings in the unemployment rate), stability of prices, strong welfare state involvement, and the dominance of specific attitudinal conditions all support greater realization of short-term fertility intentions.

Keywords: Fertility and childbirth, Cross-country comparative analyses, Longitudinal studies, Multi-level modeling

See paper.

  Presented in Session 16. Fertility: Preferences and Intentions