Financial Stress, Economic Uncertainty and Transitions to First and Second Birth

Juliet A. Stone, University of Southampton

Past research has tended to focus on the impact of individuals’ employment uncertainty on fertility, with less attention paid to the impact of partner and household level uncertainty or subjective financial stress.This paper exploits new data from a large UK household panel to examine whether subjective financial stress is related to childbearing behaviour in a different way to more objective measures of uncertainty. Furthermore, we consider the experiences of men and women, and examine the impact of economic uncertainty on both the transition to parenthood, and the propensity to have a second child. We demonstrate that the association between economic uncertainty and fertility varies according to age, gender, parity and measure of uncertainty. Perceived financial difficulties persistently show a positive association with fertility and do not necessarily follow the same patterns of association when compared with objective measures.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Fertility Intentions and Behaviors