Do intergenerational residential choices affect fertility?

Astri Syse, Statistics Norway
Lars Dommermuth, Statistics Norway

Support from parents or parents in-law has been shown to influence fertility in some studies, but other research contradicts this. We aim to assess how residential closeness to own parents or parents-in-law influences the fertility of cohabiting and married Norwegian mothers. We also examine possible effects of relocations towards or away from parents or parents-in-law prior to possible childbirths. We employ discrete-time hazard regression models to estimate the probability of becoming mothers for the second, third or fourth time from 2000 through 2012 for all women age 20-44 in Norway, utilizing rich registry data on more than 500 000 women, their parents, their partners and their in-laws. Preliminary results indicate that intergenerational support, measured indirectly through common residential location, appears to be slightly fertility enhancing, net of individuals’ other characteristics. In preliminary models not fully adjusted, the effects appear somewhat stronger for third- and fourth-order child births, and for individuals who relocate closer to their parents or in-laws shortly prior to a possible child birth. Grandparents’ resources in terms of age, education, marital status and work engagement appear to modify effects on their children’s fertility. Preliminary results appear to be somewhat stronger for co-location with parents than in-laws. The increased mobility and the relatively high degree of centralization observed for younger cohorts often results in relocations in geographical areas different from that of their parents or in-laws. As such, our findings may suggest that the current development may be slightly unfavorable for future fertility. From a policy perspective, ensuring perceptions of social support and child care possibilities for couples in childbearing ages may help counteract such possible consequences. However, more research on future developments, mechanisms involved as well as possible policy measures is clearly warranted before conclusions may be drawn.

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Presented in Session 59: Social network and fertility