Volume 34 - Article 17 | Pages 467–498  

Does grandparental help mediate the relationship between kin presence and fertility?

By Kristin Snopkowski, Rebecca Sear

Abstract

Background: Previous research suggests that kin availability may be correlated with reproductive outcomes, but it is not clear that a causal relationship underlies these findings. Further, there is substantial variation in how kin availability is measured.

Objective: We attempt to identify whether different measures of kin availability influence how kin affect reproductive outcomes and whether the effect of kin on reproductive outcomes is driven by the help that they provide.

Methods: Using data from the Indonesia Family Life Survey (1993, 1997, 2000, 2007), we compare the survival of parents and parents-in-law, their co-residence, geographic proximity, contact frequency, and helping behavior in predicting fertility outcomes, and test a hypothesized causal pathway linking kin availability to reproduction via helping behavior.

Results: We find different results if we operationalize parental availability as survival or co-residence, suggesting that these measures cannot be used interchangeably. Receiving help from parents or parents-in-law has a positive effect on progression to birth when women have fewer than three living children. Path analyses show that geographic proximity is associated with contact frequency, which in turn influences helping behavior. Kin help has a positive effect on progression to giving birth for all parental categories, but the effects are strongest for mothers-in-law.

Conclusions: In Indonesia, kin availability has a positive effect on fertility only when kin provide help, suggesting that there is a causal relationship between kin availability and fertility which is mediated via the provision of help.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Earning their keep? Fostering, children's education, and work in north-western Tanzania
Volume 41 - Article 10

Supportive families versus support from families: The decision to have a child in the Netherlands
Volume 37 - Article 14

Does the kin orientation of a British woman’s social network influence her entry into motherhood?
Volume 28 - Article 11

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

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

Analyzing hyperstable population models
Volume 49 - Article 37    | Keywords: birth trajectory, cohort analysis, cyclical populations, dynamic population model, fertility, hyperstable, period

Ultra-Orthodox fertility and marriage in the United States: Evidence from the American Community Survey
Volume 49 - Article 29    | Keywords: age at first marriage, American Community Survey (ACS), fertility, Judaism, marriage, religion, total fertility rate (TFR), Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

Advanced or postponed motherhood? Migrants’ and natives’ gap between ideal and actual age at first birth in Spain
Volume 49 - Article 22    | Keywords: actual age at first birth, age at arrival, fertility, ideal age at first birth, international migration, motherhood, Spain