Highly educated women and reasons to become a mother at different phases of life

Pirjo Paajanen, The Population Research Institute, Helsinki
Anneli Miettinen, The Population Research Institute, Helsinki

What kinds of reasons for timing of their first time motherhood express mothers who already have obtained a degree in higher education and those who are still studying in tertiary education? Do those who were still studying express different kinds of reasons compared to those who have finished their studies and are in the labour force before their first birth? Do they both express reasons related to acquiring a suitable housing or did they simply had a bad “baby fever”? The data is from Family survey 2005. The mail survey was conducted in spring 2005. A simple random sample of women (1000 in age groups 20-25 and 30-35 years old) living in Finland was drawn from the population register. Women were restricted to those living in a union and having had their first child not more than three years before. The response rate was 70 percent. For this study the sample was restricted to women studying or having finished tertiary education (820 women) by the time of their first birth. 146 women had been studying and 571 were in the labour force just before the birth of their first child. Logistic regression analysis is the main analytical tool used in this study. Those who were still studying reasons like wanting to have a child at young age and the suitable time in their studies were more important. For those who were at labour force more important reasons were having finished studies before a baby and thought that they had spent enough free youth. Those women who had their first child while studying were younger, lived more often in rented flat, were studying in university than in polytechnics, had lower income and their partner was more often also studying than in labour force compared to those women who were in the labour force before the first birth.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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