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Social Background and Becoming a Parent in Sweden: A Register-Based Study of the Effect of Social Background on Childbearing in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Number of Authors: 1
2015 (English)In: European Journal of Population, ISSN 0168-6577, E-ISSN 1572-9885, Vol. 31, no 4, 417-444 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study, I introduce three measures of social background, namely occupational class, social status, and parental education, into fertility research. The objective is to examine whether these dimensions of social background affect entry into parenthood even after controlling for several potential pathways. I estimate event history models on first birth rates using data, which include all Swedes born in 1960. The results show that each of the three dimensions of social background has a clear bivariate association with the risk of becoming a parent, both for men and for women. Parental education has the strongest effect of class and status background, and the latter two do not affect the entry into fatherhood when the effects of all dimensions of social background are estimated simultaneously. Much of the remaining association between social background and fertility persists when controlling for own educational history, mother's age at first birth, and father's mean incomes. The results also show that higher social background leads to postponement of childbearing but that it has no effect on the final likelihood of ever become a parent. The influence of social background on fertility is stronger for women than for men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 31, no 4, 417-444 p.
Keyword [en]
Social background, Stratification, Intergenerational transmission of fertility, Class reproduction
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123336DOI: 10.1007/s10680-015-9346-0ISI: 000363243100004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-123336DiVA: diva2:874223
Available from: 2015-11-26 Created: 2015-11-24 Last updated: 2016-01-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Parents, Children and Childbearing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Parents, Children and Childbearing
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis provides a set of studies of social influences on fertility timing. Swedish register data are used to link individuals to their parents and siblings, thereby allowing the study of impacts of family of origin, social background, and parental death on fertility. The Swedish Medical Birth Register is used to investigate the effect of mode of delivery on higher order births. The thesis consists of an introductory chapter with an overview of the consequences and predictors of the timing of childbearing, and a theoretical framework to explain these relationships. This chapter also includes a section where the contribution to existing knowledge, the relation of the findings to life course theory, and suggestion for further research are discussed. This chapter is followed by four original empirical studies. The first study applies sister and brother correlations to investigate and estimate the impact of family of origin on fertility. It shows that family of origin matters for fertility timing and final family size. The study also shows that the overall importance of family of origin has not changed over the approximately twenty birth cohorts that were studied. The second study introduces three dimensions of social background - occupational class, status, and education - into fertility research. It suggests that social background, independent of individuals’ own characteristics, matters for the timing of first birth and the risk of childlessness. The study also shows that different dimensions of social background should not be used interchangeably. The third study uses the Swedish Medical Birth Register to investigate the effect of mode of delivery on the propensity and birth interval of subsequent childbearing. It demonstrates that mode of delivery has an impact on the progression to the second and third births but that a first delivery by vacuum extraction does not reduce the propensity of subsequent childbearing to the same extent as a first delivery by emergency or elective caesarean section. The fourth study explores the effects of parental death on adult children's fertility. The findings reveal that parental death during reproductive ages can affect children’s fertility. The effects are moderated by the gender of the child and when in the life course bereavement occurs. The combined output of these four studies provides evidence that human fertility behavior is embedded in social relationships with kin and friends throughout life. Family of origin, social background, an older sibling's birth, and bereavement following parental death influence the adult child's fertility. These findings add knowledge to previous research on intergenerational and social network influences in fertility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2016. 95 p.
Series
, Stockholm University Demography Unit, ISSN 1404-2304 ; 14
Keyword
Demography, Sociology, Fertility, Intergenerational transmission, Intergenerational influences, Social background, Parental death, Timing of first birth, Mode of delivery, Sibling correlation, Event history analysis, Childlessness, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-125936 (URN)978-91-7649-318-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-02-26, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2010-0831Swedish Research Council, 340-2013-5164Swedish Research Council, 349-2007-8701
Available from: 2016-02-03 Created: 2016-01-20 Last updated: 2016-01-26Bibliographically approved

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Dahlberg, Johan
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