Socioeconomic differences in the unemployment and fertility nexus: evidence from Denmark and Germany

Kreyenfeld, M. R., Andersson, G.

Advances in Life Course Research, 21, 59-73 (2014)


Schlagworte: economic structure, family


Studies that have investigated the role of unemployment in childbearing decisions have often shown no or only barely significant results. We argue that many of these “non-findings” may be attributed to a neglect of group-specific differences in behavior. In this study, we examine how the association of unemployment and fertility varies by socio-demographic subgroups using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) and from Danish population registers. We find that male unemployment is related to a postponement of first and second childbearing in both countries. The role of female unemployment is less clear at these two parities. Both male and female unemployment is positively correlated with third birth risks. More importantly, our results show that there are strong educational gradients in the unemployment and fertility nexus, and that the relationship between unemployment and fertility varies by socioeconomic group. Fertility tends to be lower during periods of unemployment among highly educated women and men, but not among their less educated counterparts.