Abstract: This paper validates the fertility histories of the German Generations and Gender Survey (GGS). Focusing on the cohorts 1930-69 of West German women, the total number of children, the parity distribution and the parity progression ratios are compared to external sources. One major result from this validation is that the German GGS understates the fertility for the older cohorts and overstates it for the younger ones. We presume that two mechanisms are responsible for this pattern in the German GGS: On the one hand, children who have left parental home are underreported in the retrospective fertility histories. On the other hand, women with small children are easier to reach by the interviewer. These two mechanisms taken together produce too low numbers of children for the older and too high ones for the younger cohorts. Extending the validation to marital histories has revealed a similar bias. Our general conclusion from this investigation is that the German GGS may not be used for statistical analyses of cohort fertility and marriage trends. For subsequent surveys, we suggest integrating simple control questions in questionnaires with complex retrospective fertility and union histories.
Hoem, Jan M. and Muresan, Cornelia and Haragus, Mihaela
Until the late 1980s there was little non-marital cohabitation in Romania; time in consensual unions constituted only a few per cent of the total time spent in unions every year. After the fall of state socialism, the overall fraction in consensual unions grew steadily, and by 2005 it had reached some ten per cent. This development had consequences for the patterns of childbearing. The purpose of the present paper is to display selected features of fertility in consensual and marital unions in Romania over the period 1985-2005 based on the data from the national Generations and Gender Survey of 2005. To this end we use underlying fertility rates specified by union duration and utilize a metric based on an aggregation of such rates over all durations, irrespective of parity. We also highlight groups of women who have been particularly prone to have children outside marriage. This turns out to be women with a low educational attainment and women of a rural origin. Women in consensual unions in these two groups were especially strongly affected by the dramatic changes in family policies around 1990, and their aggregate fertility in cohabitational unions in subsequent years is largely of the same size order as in marital unions. For the fertility of partnered women in the two groups it does not seem to matter much whether they are married.
Using data on individuals born 1946 to 1972 from the Norwegian Generations and Gender Survey (N = 7,587) we examine differentials in the number and incidence of co-residential relationships by gender and socioeconomic status. Regarding number of relationships, we found that women and younger respondents more often than men and older respondents reported having had two or more unions. 10% of the men and 5% of the women had no union experience by age 35. Controlling for relevant characteristics, our multivariate results showed that high income men experienced fewer unions than lower income men. Having a low income increased the odds of remaining single among men, whereas there was a positive association between tertiary education and remaining unpartnered among women.
Academic women in Austria and Germany have extraordinarily high final levels of childlessness of 45-60%, as documented by prior research. This study investigates how female scientists’ fertility behaviour relates to their childbearing ideals and intentions in Austria. It analyses whether high childlessness and low numbers of children are intended or not. By looking additionally at employment conditions and partnership status, this study points to possible obstacles hindering couples to realise their childbearing desires. Furthermore, it shows how female scientists combine their academic career and childcare. The analysis is based on a sample of female scientists who had applied for a grant at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (n=196). It comprises women aged 25-45 who work in different scientific fields in Austria. Female scientists aged 40-45 have 0.9 children on average and 44% remain childless. However, these levels are far from the number of offspring that young scientists under the age of 35 intend to have. They perceive on average two as their ideal and intended number; only around 10% want to stay childless. Several obstacles which impede childbearing were identified, e.g. the strong work commitment of the female scientists, the need to be geographically mobile and the high prevalence of living apart together relationships. As for the combination of work and family, female scientists return back to work quickly after they have a child. Most do not regard the family as the main caregiver but perceive a division of tasks between the family and the public as preferable.