What comes first? An investigation of the relationship between low education and early parenthood in Germany

Timo Peter, University of Bremen

Having a child is a risk for the household income, for later wealth, and the standard of living. In particular, mothers and fathers who have their first child at a young age face this challenge in a very sensitive stage of their lives in which the foundation for the future standard of living is set. Since early parenthood is associated with low education and education is an important determinant for the socioeconomic status, this study focuses on the relationship between low education and early parenthood. On the one hand, early parenthood could seem like an attractive choice, confronted with otherwise uncertain or low expectations in life. On the other hand, early parenthood can represent an obstacle for the educational career which is very difficult to overcome. Therefore the research question is as follows: Is low education a result or rather the cause of early parenthood? To investigate this question the German Family Panel (pairfam) is used. I focus on the anchor persons of the youngest of the three birth cohorts (born 1971-73, 1981-83 and 1991-93) who were between 15 and 17 years old at the time of the first interview in 2008. The sequences of the educational and occupational episodes before and at the time of conception and the time of the birth of the first child will be analyzed.

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Presented in Poster Session 1