Volume 38 - Article 19 | Pages 451–470

Exploring the childless universe: Profiles of women and men without children in Italy

By Valentina Tocchioni

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:22 Jun 2017
Date published:01 Feb 2018
Word count:3208
Keywords:childlessness, Italy, sequence analysis


Background: In recent decades, several Western countries have experienced a large increase in childlessness. Relatively little is known about the profiles of childless women in Italy, and virtually nothing about childless men.

Objective: The aim of this paper is to address this gap by identifying typical life course trajectories of childless women and men in Italy from a gender perspective and in a cross-cohort comparison.

Methods: In order to identify typical patterns I adopted a holistic perspective, applying sequence analysis to data on partnership, employment, and education for a sample of childless women and men derived from the 2009 Italian Family and Social Subjects survey.

Results: Six profiles each were identified for childless women and men, which illustrate the marked heterogeneity of the childless universe. Four out of the six were similar for both genders. Importantly, the life course of the childless evolved across cohorts, with an increasing proportion of employed women and single men in the youngest generations.

Contribution: This work sheds light on differences in childlessness in Italy by gender and generation. It confirms the role of factors such as not having a partner, and adds new empirical findings such as the pattern of disadvantaged, less-educated women and that of highly educated men with a history of unstable employment.

Author's Affiliation

Valentina Tocchioni - Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Diverse pathways in young Italians’ entrance into sexual life: The association with gender and birth cohort
Volume 46 - Article 13

» The positive impact of women’s employment on divorce: Context, selection, or anticipation?
Volume 38 - Article 37

» Uncertain lives: Insights into the role of job precariousness in union formation in Italy
Volume 35 - Article 10

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Diverse pathways in young Italians’ entrance into sexual life: The association with gender and birth cohort
Volume 46 - Article 13    | Keywords: Italy, sequence analysis

» Longitudinal employment trajectories and health in middle life: Insights from linked administrative and survey data
Volume 40 - Article 47    | Keywords: Italy, sequence analysis

» Family reunification – who, when, and how? Family trajectories among migrants in Italy
Volume 38 - Article 28    | Keywords: Italy, sequence analysis

» The effect of the Great Recession on permanent childlessness in Italy
Volume 37 - Article 20    | Keywords: childlessness, Italy

» From never partnered to serial cohabitors: Union trajectories to childlessness
Volume 36 - Article 55    | Keywords: childlessness, sequence analysis


»Volume 38





Similar Articles



Jump to Article

Volume Page
Volume Article ID