The born and unborn children of the 1989 transition: effects of the socio-cultural circumstances of childbearing

Beáta Dávid, Semmelweis University and Institute of Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS)
Réka Hegedus, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS)
Veronika Bóné, Semmelweis University

In 1989 the Sociological Institute initiated a longitudinal panel study among parents expecting their first child in the southern region of the Budapest agglomeration in Hungary. In the first phase of the study 300 pregnant women were asked to fill out standardized questionnaires. In the second phase, the families were revisited 3-13 months after giving birth. Then altogether 193 families (both mothers and fathers) filled the questionnaires plus 50 in-depth mother interviews were made. From 2011 the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund has funded a research to (re)continue this special family panel data, to follow up the life history of the families taking part in the research 20 years ago. In the current research we have interviewed members from 117 families (mothers, fathers and the grown-up children) and through their different perspectives we tried to reveal and explain the socio-demographic and personal factors behind the life course decisions. Since in the last few decades Hungary has been facing a permanent decline in its fertility figures , The aim of our presentation is to reveal those personal turning points that might influence the propensity of childbearing. Like the majority of the Hungarian women, mothers participating in the first wave of our research began their adult life with the intention of having a family with 2 children. Analyzing the data of the birth-panel study it is evident that the decision on the birth of the second and further children depends on several factors such as social support, quality of personal relationships, financial situation, crises and coping strategies. In the focus of our interest is not only to describe the characteristics of those families who initially had the same intentions but eventually either had only one or more than two children but to explain the influencing factors behind the different childbearing behaviours.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 59: Social network and fertility