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The Education Gradient in Childbearing: Changes in the Education Distribution

Dates:
  • Thu 08 Oct 2020 17.00 - 18.30
  Add to Calendar 2020-10-08 17:00 2020-10-08 18:30 Europe/Paris The Education Gradient in Childbearing: Changes in the Education Distribution

Presentation within the Inequality Working Group

In the last three decades, two demographic processes have been reshaping developed countries: declines in fertility and increases in women’s education levels. A negative education gradient in fertility – highly educated women have fewer children and higher rates of childlessness than women with lower education, emerged in a number of countries, although its presence is far from uniform. Conversely, recent studies report that highly educated women might be returning to larger families and having faster transitions to second births. However, the composition of different education strata has been changing concurrently with fertility trends. Indeed, the expansions in secondary and tertiary education in European countries occurred at different times and speeds, thus generating composition heterogeneity across time and space. This process has led to a change in the meaning and selectivity of absolute levels of education. Combining the Gender and Generation Survey and international educational attainment data, I construct a relative education measure that includes women’s relative educational positioning by country and birth cohort and I use it to predict early motherhood and childlessness. Adding cohort-specific aggregate tertiary education prevalence, I also investigate changes in the educational gradient in childbearing as the educational composition changes. Findings over the entire sample suggest an overall convergence towards later motherhood for less educated women and lower childlessness for highly educated ones. However, there is substantial heterogeneity across time and space with the negative education gradient flattening only in recent cohorts and in countries with a higher proportion of women with tertiary education, which might act as protecting factor against childlessness.

Seminar Room 2 - Badia Fiesolana DD/MM/YYYY
  Seminar Room 2 - Badia Fiesolana

Presentation within the Inequality Working Group

In the last three decades, two demographic processes have been reshaping developed countries: declines in fertility and increases in women’s education levels. A negative education gradient in fertility – highly educated women have fewer children and higher rates of childlessness than women with lower education, emerged in a number of countries, although its presence is far from uniform. Conversely, recent studies report that highly educated women might be returning to larger families and having faster transitions to second births. However, the composition of different education strata has been changing concurrently with fertility trends. Indeed, the expansions in secondary and tertiary education in European countries occurred at different times and speeds, thus generating composition heterogeneity across time and space. This process has led to a change in the meaning and selectivity of absolute levels of education. Combining the Gender and Generation Survey and international educational attainment data, I construct a relative education measure that includes women’s relative educational positioning by country and birth cohort and I use it to predict early motherhood and childlessness. Adding cohort-specific aggregate tertiary education prevalence, I also investigate changes in the educational gradient in childbearing as the educational composition changes. Findings over the entire sample suggest an overall convergence towards later motherhood for less educated women and lower childlessness for highly educated ones. However, there is substantial heterogeneity across time and space with the negative education gradient flattening only in recent cohorts and in countries with a higher proportion of women with tertiary education, which might act as protecting factor against childlessness.


Location:
Seminar Room 2 - Badia Fiesolana

Affiliation:
Department of Political and Social Sciences

Type:
Working group

Speaker:
Federica Querin

Contact:
Monika Rzemieniecka (EUI - Department of Political and Social Sciences) - Send a mail
CLIC Inequality Working Group - Send a mail

Organiser:
Prof. Fabrizio Bernardi
Prof. Juho Härkönen

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