Union Formation and Transition to Parenthood: Comparison of Finnish Women born in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s

Leen Rahnu, .
Marika Jalovaara, University of Turku

This paper addresses family formation in a low fertility context. The stability of close to replacement level fertility ended during the past decade in all Nordic countries, with the decline to the lowest level in Finland. The link between low fertility and partnership dynamics is not clear. Using total population register data on women born between 1969 and 2000 in Finland, and event history methods, we aim to reveal any changes in the patterns of, and links between, the formation and stability of coresidential partnerships and first birth. Results indicate that half of the women formed their first coresidential partnership by age 22, with no differences between older cohorts but cohorts born at early 1990s being the first ones who show signs of postponement. Entry into parenthood declines systematically towards more recent birth cohorts. In turn, couples have increasingly separated without having a child. In partnerships of women born in the 1990s the probability of separation is, for the first time, higher than the probability of first birth. The results contribute to a better understanding of demographic mechanisms behind (sustained) sub-replacement fertility among post-transitional populations.

Keywords: Fertility and childbirth, Family demography, Event history analysis, Life course analysis

See paper.

  Presented in Session 49. Parity and Parenthood