Volume 31 - Article 15 | Pages 421-458

Fertility and the fast-track: Continued childbearing among professionals in Sweden, 1991-2009

By Maria Stanfors

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Date received:24 Oct 2011
Date published:07 Aug 2014
Word count:8210
Keywords:fertility, gender, higher education, logit model, occupation, Sweden
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2014.31.15
 

Abstract

Background: During recent decades women have made considerable advances in education and the labor market, even in fast-track professions such as law, medicine, and academia. While women have entered high-status professions, the career paths of some jobs have changed little and are still inflexible, which implies that professional gains may be offset by familial losses.

Objective: We investigate continued childbearing, focusing on the relationship between occupation and second and third births, among highly educated men and women in three high-status professions.

Methods: We analyze the determinants of having a second or a third birth using longitudinal data from population registers in Sweden, 1991-2009. We use descriptive statistics and logistic models.

Results: Net of demographic and socioeconomic controls, medical doctors are more likely to continue childbearing than lawyers and academics, irrespective of parity and gender. The patterns that emerge are independent of income. Public sector work is conducive to continued childbearing, especially for women.

Conclusions: Although there are more opportunities to combine career and family in Sweden than in many other countries, this does not hold equally for all. The results indicate that working conditions and career structures contribute to making it easier for some groups than others to combine a professional career and children. Patterns that emerge reflect that women and men are not equally sensitive to career structures that imply a tradeoff between career and children at an early stage of the career. This puts policies promoting work and family for all into perspective.

Author's Affiliation

Maria Stanfors - University of Lund, Sweden [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Family life in power couples.: Continued childbearing and union stability among the educational elite in Sweden, 1991–2005
Volume 23 - Article 30

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