Conjugal Instability and Cumulated Fertility in Canada

Ana Fostik, McGill University
Céline Le Bourdais, McGill University

In this article, we undertake a first examination of the links between union instability and cumulated fertility in Canada. In order to do so, we reconstruct conjugal and childbearing trajectories among Canadian men and women using retrospective biographical data from the 2011 GSS. After documenting the evolution of conjugal trajectories by age, we analyse cumulated fertility by conjugal trajectory from ages 25 to 50. Bivariate results show that, at all ages, cumulated fertility is lower among repartnered individuals than among those in their first union. However, repartnering helps mitigate the negative effect of union disruption on fertility: individuals who repartner achieve a higher fertility at the end of their reproductive life than that attained at previous union dissolution. We use discrete-time logistic regression to analyse the impact of conjugal trajectories and of the timing of transitions on the probability of making first, second and third parity progressions. Our findings suggest that repartnering encourages higher order parity progressions - particularly the third one -, once the timing of crucial life course events and other confounding factors are controlled for.

Presented in Session 30: Family Life Courses and Fertility