Education and entry into motherhood: the Czech Republic during state socialism and the transition period (1970-1997)
Demographic Research, S3:10, 245–274 (2004)
The Czech Republic presently shows one of the lowest total fertility rates (TFR) in Europe. A decline in period fertility followed the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy that started in 1990. In this study, we investigate women’s transition to first births, focusing on the impact of female education. We make a distinction between the effects of education attainment and time elapsed since completion of education. There are two aspects to the role of education that influenced the delay of entry into motherhood in the 1990s. First, during early adulthood women spent more time in education than their contemporaries did in the era of state socialism. Second, women entered motherhood much later after completion of education than before, which contrasts with the previous pattern of a strong immediate effect the completion of studies had on first-birth risks. The decline in first-birth risks in the 1990s applies more so to women with a higher level of education than to those with a lower level. We argue that greater education differentiation of labor market opportunities and constraints brought about greater education differentiation in the timing of entry into motherhood.
Keywords: Czech Republic, first birth