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

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

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

Describing the Dutch Social Networks and Fertility Study and how to process it
Volume 49 - Article 19    | Keywords: fertility, Netherlands, personal networks, social influence

Partial fertility recuperation in Spain two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
Volume 49 - Article 17    | Keywords: COVID-19, fertility, recuperation, Spain

The quality of fertility data in the web-based Generations and Gender Survey
Volume 49 - Article 3    | Keywords: accuracy, data quality, fertility, Generations and Gender Survey (GGS)