Contextual economic conditions and the event of entry into parenthood: first childbearing in Sweden 2000-2007

Christopher Grönberg, Cornell University

In a contemporary Europe symptomized by concurrent trends of economic and demographic transformation it is increasingly important to trace how individuals navigate their everyday contexts when making major life course decisions. Placed within an emerging tradition of sub-national demographic research, this study focuses on how municipal economic conditions affect entry into parenthood across Sweden. Employing event-history analysis using individual and multi-level regressions on Swedish register data for the period 2000 to 2007; this study seek answers as to whether growing regional economic disparities are specifically conducive to a fault line between contexts in how individuals enter parenthood. The multilevel framework, apart from linking the individual-level economic trajectories to structural labor market transformations, is refined through the introduction of a measure of municipal-level economic vulnerability alongside youth and working-age population unemployment rates. This enables the problematization of the traditional modeling of contextual economic conditions and is shown by the results, which mark interplay between the different measures, as a fruitful starting point for investigating how contextual factors influence divergent life course developments. Overall the findings reveal that poor economic conditions, in combination with individual characteristics, distinctly affect entry into parenthood in terms of timing-effect

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Presented in Session 13: Contextual characteristics of fertility behaviour