Lifelong childlessness as well as a larger number of children among Finns with little or medium education are linked to changes in partnerships.
Lifelong infertility in Finland is most common among people with little or moderate education. About one-third of poorly or moderately educated men born in the early 1970s remained childless, compared with only one-fifth of highly educated men. In Finland today, the proportion of women who are childless during their lifetime is also highest for those with the least education.
On the other hand, low and medium educated men and women have increasingly had three or more children.
“It should be noted that this polarization in the number of children is not limited only to the small group of the least educated. This also applies to middle-educated men and women,” says FLUX Consortium Director Docent Marika Jalovaara from the University of Turku.
In contrast, highly educated men and women are much more likely to have exactly two children. Lifelong infertility and more children are less common than among their less educated peers and have not become more common. In fact, lifetime infertility has declined among women with higher education.
Education and stable employment support family formation
The vast majority of those still childless have either had short periods of cohabitation, never cohabited or never married. Such a couple history is more common among people with low education. On the other hand, mothers and fathers with little or medium education often have children with more than one partner, which contributes to the increase in the number of children among the less educated Finns.
Education is associated with various facets of well-being as well as formation and stability of employment and partnership, which also promotes having children.
“Polls show that a majority of men and women want to have children at some point in their lives. It would seem that highly educated men and women have better opportunities than others to realize their desires regarding forming a family,” says Jalovaara. “Therefore, successful education and employment policies also support having children and allowing everyone to have as many children as they want.”
Highly educated not a barrier to larger families for religious women, study finds
Family size in Finland related to parental education level (2022, March 22)
retrieved 22 March 2022
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