Male fertility intentions in Finland

Anneli Miettinen, The Population Research Institute, Helsinki
Anna Rotkirch, Population Research Institute, Väestöliitto
Stuart A. Basten, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

A number of studies have demonstrated the importance of male fertility intentions in determining the reproductive strategies of couples. This presentation examines how gender and gender equity shapes fertility intentions among Finnish men and women. We examine different components of intentions to see if the ambiguous findings of previous studies are related to different measures of fertility. We will also look to what extent ideational and structural determinants of fertility intentions are gender specific. Data come from Finnish Well-being and Social Relationships Survey, conducted in 2008 among 7000 25-44-year-old men and women who had 0 or 1 child. We examined the intention to have 1st/2nd child, intention to have a large family (expects 3+ children) as well as personal ideal of a large family (ideal 3+ children). Measure for gender ideology was created from a set of questions regarding gender roles in working life and in the family. Several of the items focused on men’s role in the family. We used logistic regression to analyze the impact of ideational and structural variables on childbearing intentions. Ideational variables exhibited significant association with the intention to have the first child among both men and women, while there was hardly any effect on the second child. In addition, the impact of ideational factors was clearly stronger on the more abstract fertility intentions. Modern gender ideology was positively associated with parenthood initiation among both men and women. Gender ideology played no role in the decision to have the second child. Among men, gender ideology had a U-shaped association with fertility expectations and desires: both traditional and modern men were more likely to expect a large family than intermediate men while among women, no significant association was found. Many variables proved to influence childbearing intentions among men and women in a similar fashion.

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Presented in Session 54: Gender equity and fertility

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