Educational attainment and ultimate fertility among Swedish women born 1955-59

Jan Hoem, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Gerda Neyer, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Gunnar Andersson, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

This paper addresses the association between educational attainment and fertility for some sixty educational groups, defined according to field of education as well as the level of education. Ultimate fertility decreases somewhat with an increasing educational level, but the field of education is much more important. In particular, women educated for the teaching or health-care professions have a higher ultimate fertility than others. Women with an education for esthetic or humanist occupations have unusually low ultimate fertility. Women with religious educations stand out by having very high childlessness but mean ultimate fertility. Women with research degrees have remarkably ordinary child¬bearing behavior; they do not forego motherhood to the extent that some theories would pre¬dict. These finding are discussed regarding their implications for theories of fertility. We argue that education cannot be regarded merely as an individual factor, but needs to be embedded in an institutional and cultural framework of fertility.

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Presented in Session 52: Socioeconomic influences on fertility