Partner's characteristics and childbearing after a separation, contrast between men and women

Eva Beaujouan, University of Southampton

In France, like in most industrialized countries, the last decades have seen dramatic changes in family behaviours. Notably, there has been a substantial increase in the proportion of couples separating: less than 15% of those first in union at the end of the 1970s separated by 10 years compared with around 30% of those first in union at the beginning of the 1990s. Childbearing trajectories are also more diverse: births occur today more often than before within a second or later union rather than within a relationship that is the first and only ever experienced one. Mean age at separation from first union is 31 in the recent years, and so the prospect of childbearing in subsequent unions may be correspondingly limited. The present paper is based primarily on retrospective data, from the French Generation and Gender Survey (2005) and addresses the fertility behaviour of men and women fertility in second or later unions. It focuses on how own age and previous live births, together with partner’s characteristics, are associated with childbearing. First, male fertility is not limited by age in the same way as female, what might partly be due to the age difference between the partners. In second and later unions formed by men as well as by women, the age of the woman in the new couple is especially strongly associated with its fertility. Second, once the age of both partners in the couple is controlled for, childbearing risk appears to be reduced by children born before the relationship only when both partners already have some. This result doesn’t vary whether the union was formed by a man and or a woman.

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Presented in Poster Session 1