Vienna Institute of Demography Working Papers No. 06/2018
Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), Vienna Institute of Demography (VID), Vienna
Parenthood postponement has been a major component of the huge changes in fertility since the 1970s. We are seeking to understand whether the delay in childbearing contributed to lower aggregate fertility levels in Austria, through the study of late fertility intentions. Our study is based on the Austrian Micro-Censuses (1986-2016) and on the Austrian Generation and Gender Surveys (panel data 2008/09 and 2012/13). Across the female birth cohorts 1950 to 1979, the gap between intentions expressed at age 35-39 and actual cohort fertility kept growing. From that age, and particularly after age 40, women who wanted a child often wanted it as soon as possible or within one year. However, we showed that a strong wish to have children was unlikely to materialize at these late ages. Up to 70% of women who had expressed a certain and short-term intention at age 30-32 in 2008/09 had a child, but due to the deep age-related decrease almost no woman aged 42-45 had had a child by 2012/13. For men the decrease was less steep, from 60% in their 30s to 20% in their 40s. Also, strong intentions started changing massively to less certain or negative intentions when reaching the mid-30s. Partnership status was the main driver of realisation of strong intentions, while childless men and women intended a child late most often but changed their intention least often.
Advanced parental ages higher reproductive ages delayed childbearing fertility intentions reproductive aging assisted reproduction low-fertility countries Europe United States