Perceived Values of Children and Their Impact on Fertility Desires and Intentions in Poland

Christoph Bein, NIDI
Monika Mynarska, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw
Anne H. Gauthier, NIDI

Given the persistent low fertility in developed countries, research on the reasons of why people choose to have children or not remains crucial. A wide array of studies have focused on fertility intentions as the underlying base in which childbearing behavior is rooted. But doing research on intentions may not be enough to explain the gap between the ideal number of children, which is close or above replacement level in most European countries, and the actual number of children being born. In line with Miller’s theoretical model, intentions are concrete plans, based on people’s desires and formed under present constrains. However, motives – or motivational traits – are the most basic foundation for the whole motivational process that leads to reproductive behavior. They are individual unconscious predispositions to react favorably or unfavorably to various positive and negative consequences of having a child. In the paper, we focus on these positive and negative motives and investigate their predictive power for explaining people’s fertility desires and intentions. We argue that analyzing people’s motives together with the existing constrains gives a more comprehensive view on their reproductive choices.

The data used for this study are derived from the original second wave of the GGS (Generations and Gender Survey) conducted in Poland. In the Polish version of the survey, a wide range of statements on possible advantages and disadvantages of having children was introduced. We use principal component analysis to identify the main categories of motives for or against having children. In order to determine their power in driving fertility desires and intentions, logistical regression models will be constructed. Models will be run separately by sex and parity, controlling for a set of variables related to possible constrains (e.g. union status or economic status).


Perceived Values of Children and Their Impact on FertilityDesires and Intentions in Poland

Christoph Bein1, Monika Mynarska2, Anne H.Gauthier3,

1 (Presenting Author), Netherlands InterdisciplinaryDemographic Institute and University of Groningen; bein@nidi.nl

2 Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw; m.mynarska@uksw.edu.pl

3 Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Instituteand University of Groningen; gauthier@nidi.nl

Introduction: Given the persistent low fertility in developed countries,research on the reasons of why people choose to have children or not remainscrucial. A wide array of studies have focused on fertility intentions as theunderlying base in which childbearing behavior is rooted (Billari, Philipov etal. 2009; Régnier-Loilier and Vignoli 2011; Mencarini, Vignoli et al. 2015).Intentions are indeed able to predict subsequent reproductive behavior ratherwell (Ajzen and Klobas 2013). Nevertheless, doing research on intentions maynot be enough to explain the gap between the ideal number of children, which isclose or above replacement level in most European countries (Sobotka andBeaujouan 2014), and the actual number of children being born.

Intentionsare concrete plans, formed under present constraints, such as a relationshipstatus or economic conditions. But they are also based on people’s desires andunderpinning motives (Miller 2012). In fact, according to Miller’s theoreticalmodel (TDIB, Miller 1995), motives – or motivational traits – constitute themost basic foundation for the whole motivational process that leads toreproductive behavior. They are individual unconscious predispositions to reactfavorably or unfavorably to various positive and negative consequences ofhaving a child. In the paper, we focus on these positive and negative motivesand investigate their predictive power for explaining people’s fertilitydesires and intentions. We argue that analyzing people’s motives together withthe existing constrains gives a more comprehensive view on their reproductivechoices. Consequently, it may add to explaining the existing gap between idealand actual number of children.

Data and Methods: The data used for this study are derived from the originalsecond wave of the GGS (Generations and Gender Survey) conducted in Poland. Inthe Polish version of the survey, a wide range of statements on possibleadvantages and disadvantages of having children was introduced based onMiller’s work (1995). They had to be assessed by the respondents in howrelevant they are for them personally on a scale from 1 to 5. Those statementsare listed in the table below. Our sample includes men aged 18-50 and womenaged 18-45.

Principalcomponent analyses will be performed in order to identify the main categoriesof motives for or against having children. In order to determine their power indriving fertility desires and intentions, logistical regression models will beconstructed separately by sex and parity. Given the persisting two-child idealin Poland (Sobotka and Beaujouan 2014), we are especially interested in thedifferent motivations for or against a third and subsequent child in comparisonto lower parities. Our dependent variables are the “instant” desire to have achild (Do you want a child now?) and the intention to have a(nother) childduring the next three years. In the models, we will control for a set ofvariables related to possible constraints, such as union status, educationlevel or labor market status. We expect the childbearing motives tosignificantly contribute to explaining childbearing desires and intentions. Wealso expect them to bear different weights depending on parity and gender.

Sources

Ajzen, I. and J. Klobas (2013)."Fertility intentions." Demographic Research 29:203-232.

Billari,F. C., D. Philipov, et al. (2009). "Attitudes, Norms and PerceivedBehavioural Control: Explaining Fertility Intentions in Bulgaria." EuropeanJournal of Population / Revue européenne de Démographie 25(4):439-465.

Mencarini, L., D. Vignoli, et al. (2015). "Fertilityintentions and outcomes: Implementing the Theory of Planned Behavior withgraphical models." Adv Life Course Res 23: 14-28.

Miller, W. B. (1995). Childbearing motivation and itsmeasurement. J Biosoc Sci, 27(4): 473-487.

Miller,W. B. (2012). "Differences between fertility desires and intentions:implications for theory, research and policy." Vienna Yearbook ofPopulation Research 9: 75-98.

Régnier-Loilier, A. and D. Vignoli (2011). "FertilityIntentions and Obstacles to their Realization in France and Italy." Population,English edition 66(3): 360-390.

Sobotka, T. and É. Beaujouan (2014). "Two Is Best? ThePersistence of a Two-Child Family Ideal in Europe." Population andDevelopment Review 40(3): 391-419.

           

 

Presented in Session 1235: Fertility