Values of children and the lowest-low fertility: the Polish case

Monika Mynarska, Independent Researcher

Poland is one of the “puzzling-cases” where the lowest-low fertility occurs in a society strongly orientated towards family and children. As childbearing is still quite universal in Poland and the decline in TFR is mostly attributed to the reduction of the higher order births and some fertility postponement, it seems that economic and institutional factors are mostly responsible for that state of affairs. However, with our results we argue that deeper understanding of the value of children may improve the interpretations of the current fertility patterns. Drawing on a qualitative analysis we identify two key categories of benefits associated with parenthood. They relate to: (1) the image of the “normal” life course; and (2) the expectations as to the old-age. We show that given the value of children shared by the respondents, childlessness is not approved, while stopping at parity one may be an acceptable, even though not an ideal, solution.

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Presented in Session 49: Adolescent and intergenerational fertility patterns