9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 Fertility, Reproductive Decisions and Childbearing Building II, C4.01

The age norms of childbearing in European comparison

Nowadays the timing of the first childbearing has shifted to older ages all over Europe; therefore, we consider it is important to examine whether the attitudes toward the ideal age of childbearing have adjusted to this trend. First of all we analyze attitude type questions, we focus on when people think it is ideal, too late or too early to become a mother or a father in Europe. We try to find out if there are any differences in the age norms of childbearing among Eastern, Western and North Europe. We examine the ideal time of childbearing not only from age aspect but also regarding when it would be ideal compared to other life events of becoming adults (cohabitation, marriage) in each of the countries. We find out whether in Europe the first childbearing is actually considered part of the process of becoming adults or not. We examine how the educational level, the age groups, the type of residence and the religion variables influence the attitudes towards the ideal, too early and too late timing of childbearing in Europe.

Data from the third wave of the European Social Survey (ESS), conducted in 23 European countries (N=42,999), are used to test the assumptions. In addition to descriptive statistics displaying the European situation, causal models are developed to investigate statistical relationship with basic socio-demographic categories, partnership, as well as the workplace and employment relations characteristics as the main predictors of the timing of the first childbearing separately for men and women. We will apply multilevel analyses to eliminate the design effects in the sample.