First births in Sweden during three decades: the importance of normative factors

Sara Ström, Stockholm University
Eva Bernhardt, Stockholm University

The aim of this study is to empirically test the hypotheses proposed by Hobcraft and Kiernan that childbearing in modern societies is contingent upon five normative factors: 1) partnership, 2) education, 3) employment, 4) housing and, 5) sense of security. Using Swedish data we analyse the propensity of first-child births for the cohorts born in 1956, 1964 and 1974. We focus on the degree to wich the four factors have been fulfilled at 1) different ages and and 2) during different historical periods, and 3) the relative importance of each factor in relation to the other factors. The analysis of historical periods implies analyses of e.g. unemployment levels and policy changes, in other words "sense of security". For the cohorts born in 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980 we analyse to what extent young adults subjectively perceive (the lack of) stable partnership, education, steady income and housing as constraints for childbearing.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility, family and children