Childbearing after separation : do second unions make up for earlier missing births? Evidence from France

Eva Beaujouan, Centre for Population Change (CPC)
Anne Solaz, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Linked to the increasing number of separations –45% of the marriages beginning in 2004 and an even higher separation rate among cohabiting couples–, more and more people repartner and have children in second unions in France. The aim of this article is to study fertility behaviour after the first union. Is there a greater likelihood for individuals who experienced a separation to reach the same fertility level –or to overtake it– than for their fellows who did not? We particularly detail the determinants of having children after first union dissolution, notably conditional to repartnering, related to the form of the first relationship or the number of previous children. The data come from a survey linked to the French census called “Enquête sur les Histoires Familiales”. The sample used for estimation is composed of all women and men with at least one union dissolved by separation, divorce or partner’s death, and still at childbearing age at this time i.e. 19,519 women and 8,984 men. We perform a nested model on the probability of having children in a second union, conditional to repartnering. First results show that fertility level for separated people barely reaches the level of those who have not separated only if they repartner. The timing of fertility is different : people who have children in the second union are more likely to have begun their reproductive life sooner, and have their last children later. The first results of the model show that determinants of second couple formation are different from those of childbearing in second unions and are gender-specific. Some characteristics which are a disadvantage for repartnering, such as female low education, play positively on second union fertility, while others play positively on the two events such as being married or not having children in the first union.

  See paper

Presented in Session 41: Union Instability, Non-Marital Births and Fertility