MPIDR Working Paper

The differential influence of women´s residential district on the risk of entering first marriage and motherhood in Western Germany

Hank, K.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2002-027, 26 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (July 2002)
Also published as DIW discussion paper. Berlin 2002, 32 p. (DIW discussion papers ; 274). Also published in: Population and Environment 25:1, 3-21 (2003).
Open Access


This article investigates the role of women´s residential district in the process of family formation in western Germany during the 1980s and 1990s. Our analysis of the transition to first marriage and motherhood is based on the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), which we merge with a rich set of district-level data. The estimated multilevel discrete-time logit models suggest that (1) basically all regional heterogeneity in women´s entry into parenthood is due to differences in the respondents´ marital status, while there is (2) a constant and significant regional variation in women´s first marriage probabilities, which cannot be explained by population composition or structural contextual effects. Thus, regional influences on fertility behavior do not have an autonomous quality, but are merely mediated through a latent contextual effect on women´s risk of entering first marriage, which we attribute to regional socio-cultural milieus.
Keywords: Germany/FRG, family formation, geography
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