Are you ready now for another child? How partner satisfaction times the decision to have the second child in Australia

Francesca Luppi, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

In most of the Western countries individuals’ desired number of children is usually higher than the complete couple’s fertility realization and for most of the couples is not a matter of fertility renunciation but more of fertility postponement. If the first child is something “normative”, the decision to have a second or a third child seems to be the real obstacle for gaining an higher fertility. Why couples decide to postpone or not having the second child? Up to now this seems the crucial question to understand low fertility in the Western countries. The paper focuses on the changes that occur in the couple with the transition to parenthood analysing how they can be associated to couples’ decision to have a second child. Usually the arrival of the first child obliges new-parents to face a stressful period of adjustment to the new condition of parents, a process that involves marital satisfaction and couples’ preferences and expectation in family and work commitment. A difficult adjustment process combined with unexpected difficulties in parenting decrease couple’s risk to experience another pregnancy. Both the two factors seem to be related to a context of family unfriendly policies that makes difficult couple’s rearrangement after the transition to the parenthood. Using the first 9 waves (2001-2009) of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) panel survey we select a sample of 276 couples: the risk for the transition to the second child has been estimated using logistic discrete time hazard models, following the couples since the year of birth of the first child up to 5 years.

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Presented in Poster Session 1