The relationship between fertility and education for Dutch men

Mila van Huis, Statistics Netherlands
Elma Wobma, Statistics Netherlands

Research and data on fertility have traditionally focused primarily on women. Men usually enter the picture only in their role as partners, with characteristics that may be of influence on women’s fertility. Recent studies have started to focus on the fertility of men. The overall picture is that there are major gender differences in fertility in general, and that a key characteristic like educational attainment tends to influence male fertility differently than female fertility. This led us to the decision to extend our previous study on the relationship between fertility and education of Dutch women to that of men. In this paper, we will use register data to describe and analyse the fertility of Dutch men of different birth cohorts in relation to their education level. In our study, we look at childlessness, mean age at first birth, parity progression, and completed fertility for men of various birth cohorts. We compare the results with that of women in the Netherlands, and with results found in other countries and explore the reasons behind differences or similarities. We will also look into how the education of the partner plays a role in explaining fertility outcomes of couples. First results show for men the relation between education and childlessness is less obvious than it is for women. Especially in the younger cohorts the relation between childlessness and education seems the opposite to that of women: the higher the education level of men, the lower the percentage of childlessness. For each generation the higher educated men and women become parents later than the lower and medium educated.

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Presented in Session 1: Fertility