Vienna Institute of Demography Working Papers 9/2013
Aim of this paper is to investigate the effects of environmental conditions on human reproductive behavior in the highest industrialized countries. We discuss the hypothesis that individuals fearing for a foreseen unhealthy environment tend to delay or forgo childbearing, thus contributing to a reduced ecological footprint. The empirical analysis is based on the Eurobarometer survey carried out in the 27 EU countries in 2011. Multilevel ordinal regression models on additionally intended number of children are used. A random intercept is considered to take into account the clustering of individuals within countries. Results indicate that people's intended number of children is not very strongly correlated with people's concerns about climate change, but if a statistically significant relation is detected, this is positive: the stronger the concern, the higher the intended number of children. This result suggests that the desire to pass an enjoyable and healthy environment to the future generations does not refrain people to plan large families and that the parents' environmental concern can be instrumental in stimulating parents' responsible behaviours and proper policies at institutional level.
climate change fertility intentions environmental conditions fertility multi-level analysis Europe