Male fertility in consensual unions and marriages: selected post-socialist countries

Cornelia Muresan, Babes-Bolyai University
Livia Olah, Stockholm University

There is a huge literature examining fertility trends and their determinants in low-fertility societies, but studies on men are rare even there is a general acceptance that the de-standardization of family-life concerns especially men. Studies on men’s fertility in connection with their current union status usually concern the delay in entering fatherhood. Those dealing with multiple parenthood or with men’s completed fertility often ignore their union status. Until the 1980s there was little non-marital cohabitation in Eastern European countries; time in consensual unions constituted only a few per cent of the total time spent in unions every year. After the fall of state socialism, the overall fraction in consensual unions grew steadily, and this development had consequences for the patterns of childbearing, both for women and for men. This paper displays selected features of men’s cohabitational and marital fertility in Eastern Europe, over the period 1980-2004/2011 based on the data from national GGSs data. To this end we use underlying fertility rates specified by union duration and utilize a metric based on an aggregation of such rates over all durations, irrespective of parity, a method developed by Hoem and Muresan (2011). By covering periods both before and after the fall of state-socialism, our study highlight those national contexts where men’s fertility specific to consensual union may be close to marital fertility. Our hypothesis is that, in gender egalitarian societies, with more similar gender equality across welfare-state institutions, the total fertility of men depend less on their educational attainment but more on the type of union patterns. In more traditional societies the effect of education on male fertility is more important, despite the fact that is often the opposite of what it is for women.

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Presented in Session 18: Fertility and social change