Volume 26 - Article 1 | Pages 1–40  

The influence of employment uncertainty on childbearing in France: A tempo or quantum effect?

By Ariane Pailhé, Anne Solaz

This article is part of the Special Collection 12 "Economic uncertainty and family dynamics in Europe"


This paper investigates whether unemployment and insecure employment periods merely delay fertility or also impact on completed fertility in France. It analyses both the timing of first childbearing and the fertility reached at age 40. Different indicators of declining employment security are used, i.e. current individual employment characteristics, the accumulation of unstable jobs, and aggregate-level indicators of employment uncertainty. Male unemployment has a negative influence on the timing of first childbearing, while periods of insecure employment delay fertility for women. Completed fertility is impacted by unemployment spells only for men who have faced long-term unemployment. Employment uncertainty thus tends to delay first parenthood but has a relatively weak effect on lifetime fertility in France. Generous state support to families associated with a generous unemployment insurance system, and the strong French two-child family norm may explain why economic uncertainty affects fertility less than elsewhere.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Generations and Gender Survey (GGS): Towards a better understanding of relationships and processes in the life course
Volume 17 - Article 14

‘Will the one who keeps the children keep the house?’ Residential mobility after divorce by parenthood status and custody arrangements in France
Volume 40 - Article 14

Co-ethnic marriage versus intermarriage among immigrants and their descendants: A comparison across seven European countries using event-history analysis
Volume 39 - Article 17

Social policies, separation, and second birth spacing in Western Europe
Volume 37 - Article 37

The convergence of second-generation immigrants' fertility patterns in France: The role of sociocultural distance between parents' and host country
Volume 36 - Article 45

Partnership dynamics across generations of immigration in France: Structural vs. cultural factors
Volume 33 - Article 16

Economic Uncertainty and Family Dynamics in Europe: Introduction
Volume 27 - Article 28

France: High and stable fertility
Volume 19 - Article 16

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Are highly educated partners really more gender egalitarian? A couple-level analysis of social class differentials in attitudes and behaviors
Volume 50 - Article 34    | Keywords: attitudes, couple analysis, education, educational level, gender, gender roles, housework, social class differentials

Housework time and task segregation: Revisiting gender inequality among parents in 15 European countries
Volume 50 - Article 19    | Keywords: cross-national comparison, gender, housework

The big decline: Lowest-low fertility in Uruguay (2016–2021)
Volume 50 - Article 16    | Keywords: adolescent fertility, birth order, fertility, Latin America, ultra-low fertility, Uruguay

Cohort fertility of immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union
Volume 50 - Article 13    | Keywords: age at first birth, assimilation, cohort analysis, fertility, immigration, parity, religiosity

Fertility decline, changes in age structure, and the potential for demographic dividends: A global analysis
Volume 50 - Article 9    | Keywords: age structure, demographic dividend, demographic transition, fertility, migration, population momentum, working-age population