Vienna Institute of Demography Working Papers 07/2017
The adult life of women and men is characterised by a plurality of choices and events pertaining to different life domains. In the literature pregnancy intentions are usually studied in isolation from intentions pertaining to other spheres of life. In this research, we investigate the correspondence of birth intentions and birth outcome in a life course framework, encompassing several life domains such as partnership, education, work and residence. Using longitudinal data from the Generations and Gender Surveys in five European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, and Lithuania), we examine the matching processes of individuals' childbearing intentions and subsequent outcomes paying attention to the mediating and moderating role of intentions other than childbearing. We find empirical support for the hypothesis that adults' plans are multidimensional and that the more simultaneous intentions individuals have, the less likely they are to achieve their fertility goals. Some intentions, like moving to a new dwelling, facilitate the realization of birth intentions; others, like changing a job, tend to hinder the realisation of birth intentions. Finally, individuals are more successful in achieving their fertility targets in contexts that promote a reconciliation of work and family life.
Intentions reproduction life course fertility Europe cross-national comparison