U - shape link between education and childlessness in Hungary - a new Central European phenomenon

Laura Szabó, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute
Balázs Kapitány, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute
Adél Katalin Rohr, Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO)

Researchers have identified a positive educational gradient in childlessness for some Western and Eastern European countries: childlessness is more prevalent among highly educated women than among less educated ones. This relationship is, however not so clear-cut. In some countries a reversal of childlessness trends could be seen among highly educated women (Germany), elsewhere a U-shape relationship in education and childlessness nexus (some North European countries) or even a weak educational gradient of childlessness (Belgium, Russia, Estonia). The latest results highlight that the educational gap in childlessness between high and low educated women has narrowed in the past 20 years in many countries mainly due to the fact that childlessness levels of low and medium educated women clearly converged, presently being equal in many Eastern and Central European countries. The latest Hungarian census data suggest a clear U-shape in education – childlessness nexus for the youngest (1961-1965) cohort. The level of childlessness is the lowest among medium educated women, it is the highest among the high educated women and it is in between among low educated women. This U-shape of the education - childlessness link can be observed for the 1951-55 and 1961-65 cohorts in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and a similar pattern can be expected for Romania as well. In these countries the share of low educated childless women converged to or even exceeded the share of middle educated childless women. Moreover, the childlessness level of low educated Czech women even exceeded the childlessness level of high educated women’s. May these trends be a sign of a new Central European phenomenon? Would the low educated ultimately childless women outnumber medium educated childless women in their share in the future? Our goal was to investigate this possibility by cross-national comparison from Central European countries.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session 2