Volume 31 - Article 5 | Pages 119–136

Age-specific fertility by educational level in the Finnish male cohort born 1940‒1950

By Jessica Nisén, Pekka Martikainen, Karri Silventoinen, Mikko Myrskylä

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Date received:09 Jan 2014
Date published:08 Jul 2014
Word count:3000
Keywords:age-specific rates, childlessness, cohort analysis, educational differences, fertility rates, fertility timing, life course analysis, male fertility, parity progression ratio


Background: Education is positively associated with completed fertility rate (CFR) among men in Nordic countries, but the age patterns of fertility by educational level are poorly documented. Moreover, it is not known what parities contribute to the higher CFR among more highly educated men.

Objective: To describe men’s fertility by age, parity, and education in Finland.

Methods: The study is based on register data covering the male cohort born in 1940‒1950 (N=38,838). Education was measured at ages 30‒34 and classified as basic, lower secondary, upper secondary, and tertiary. Fertility was measured until ages 59‒69. We calculated completed and age-specific fertility rates, and decomposed the educational gradient in CFR into parity-specific contributions.

Results: The more highly educated men had more children (CFR: basic 1.71 and tertiary 2.06), had them later (mean age at having the first child: basic 26.1 and tertiary 28.1), and had them within a shorter interval (interquartile range of age at having the first child: basic 5.8 and tertiary 5.2). The educational gradient in the cumulative fertility rate was negative at young ages but turned positive by the early thirties. High levels of childlessness among those with a basic education explained three-quarters of the CFR difference between the lowest and highest educational groups. Fertility at ages above 45 was low and did not widen the educational gradient in CFR.

Conclusions: The fact that highly educated men have more children than their counterparts with less education is largely attributable to higher fertility levels at older ages and the lower probability of remaining childless. Variation in fertility timing and quantity is wider among men with a low level of education.

Author's Affiliation

Jessica Nisén - Helsingin Yliopisto (University of Helsinki), Finland [Email]
Pekka Martikainen - Helsingin Yliopisto (University of Helsinki), Finland [Email]
Karri Silventoinen - Helsingin Yliopisto (University of Helsinki), Finland [Email]
Mikko Myrskylä - Max-Planck-Institut für Demografische Forschung, Germany [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Contribution of smoking-attributable mortality to life-expectancy differences by marital status among Finnish men and women, 1971-2010
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» Reproductive behavior following evacuation to foster care during World War II
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» The role of smoking on mortality compression: An analysis of Finnish occupational social classes, 1971-2010
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» Urban fertility responses to local government programs: Evidence from the 1923-1932 U.S.
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» The effects of shocks in early life mortality on later life expectancy and mortality compression: A cohort analysis
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» The effects of socioeconomic and cultural characteristics of regions on the spatial patterns of the Second Demographic Transition in Finland
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» Educational differences in all-cause mortality by marital status: Evidence from Bulgaria, Finland and the United States
Volume 19 - Article 60

» Increasing excess mortality among non-married elderly people in developed countries
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