Uncertainties in female employment careers and the postponement of parenthood in Germany

Kreyenfeld, M. R.

European Sociological Review, 26:3, 351-366 (2010)


Schlagworte: Germany, fertility


This paper investigates whether uncertainties in female employment careers result in a postponement of family formation. Data for this analysis comes from the German Socio-Economic Panel, which provides longitudinal information on economic uncertainty and fertility for the period 1984 to 2006. We employ objective measures of uncertainty (unemployment) as well as subjective measures (whether the respondent is worried about her economic situation, whether she is worried about the security of her job). We find little evidence that uncertainties in female employment careers generally lead to a postponement of parenthood. Hence, the relationship between economic uncertainty and first birth varies by level of education. While more highly educated postpone parenthood when subject to employment uncertainties, women with low levels of education often respond to these situations by becoming mothers.