Volume 38 - Article 46 | Pages 1389–1422  

Intergenerational transmission of fertility timing in Germany

By Kathrin Morosow, Heike Trappe


Background: Intergenerational transmission of completed fertility is widely confirmed for several societies. Less research, however, has focused on differences in the transmission effect of fertility timing and its underlying mechanisms in a regional context.

Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the association between a mother’s age at her daughter’s birth and that daughter’s transition to first birth in eastern and western Germany, as well as its underlying mechanisms.

Methods: Using data from the German Family Panel (pairfam), the intergenerational transmission of fertility timing between mothers and daughters born between 1971–1973 and 1981–1983 is investigated using event history analysis. As an alternative to a mother’s age at first birth, a mother’s age at her daughter’s birth is used to determine her daughter’s transition to first birth.

Results: Results show evidence for intergenerational transmission of young childbearing between mothers and their daughters in eastern and western Germany, though the association was weaker for eastern Germany. This intergenerational transmission effect cannot be explained by the measures used to capture the underlying mechanisms – socialisation, socioeconomic status transmission, and social control.

Contribution: Our contribution to the ongoing discussion is to close a gap in research on the intergenerational transmission of fertility timing. By using the German context to analyse regional differences, we exemplify the varying strength of the intergenerational transmission of fertility timing between eastern and western Germany that persisted beyond reunification.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

The gendered division of labor and its perceived fairness: Implications for childbearing in Germany
Volume 40 - Article 48

Differences in Family Policies and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce: A Comparison between the former East and West Germany
Volume 6 - Article 11

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