Childlessness Among Highly Educated Men in Sweden

Margarita Chudnovskaya, Stockholm University

This study examines trends in childlessness among Swedish men with post-secondary education during the period of higher educational expansion. As a result of gender inequalities in higher education, highly educated men increasingly have an "advantage" on the partner market in terms of partner availability. Despite men''s partner market advantage, highly educated men have not become more likely to have children. Studying childlessness among highly educated men is thus interesting not only for gaining insights into men''s fertility trends, but also for understanding how marriage market dynamics are related to fertility outcomes.

In this study, I examine how field of study, sex ratio in college, and post-graduation income are related to the likelihood of childlessness among highly educated men over thirty birth cohorts (1945-1974). I find that men with technical-oriented education, and men with lower incomes, are more likely to remain childless and this pattern is consistent across cohorts. A negative association between birth cohort and childlessness emerges in a multivariate logistic model when differences in study experiences, income, and background variables are taken into account. These findings suggest that compositional changes within the highly educated group are an explanation for the persistently high levels of childlessness among highly educated men.

Presented in Session 1157: Fertility