Level and postponement of fertility intentions and their realization: a study of Bulgaria

Dimiter Philipov, Vienna Institute of Demography

This research analyses fertility decision-making in Bulgaria. In its first part it presents empirical analyses of four types of fertility intentions: whether to have or not to have a first or a second child (level effect); and, if yes, whether to have this child within the next two years or later (postponement effect). This distribution of intentions into level and postponement is a selection that is described with adequate selection models. Our analysis of survey data for women indicates that explanatory factors of fertility intentions differ significantly by order of intended birth and its timing. Thus the intentions to ever have a first child do not depend on the explanatory variables because nearly every woman would like to become a mother. However the timing of intentions to have the first child depend on a number of variables, for example studying. Views that having children confronts the work for pay have a negative effect on all types of intentions. Religiosity defines the "level" but not timing. Other variables are significant for either the level or the timing of the intentions. We attribute particular emphasis to anomie and social capital as important factors in shaping fertility intentions and in timing a desired birth. The second part of the analysis will study realization of intentions, again divided by level and postponement. The explanatory power of the findings reported in the first part will be examined. This part of the research is under process towards 1 March 2006.

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Presented in Session 44: Fertility intentions and preferences