The type of parenthood according to the sequence of first and second birth and marriage: evidence from birth and marriage records of the Czech Statistical Office in 1991-2006

Kryštof Zeman, Vienna Institute of Demography

Since the 1990s the fertility and nuptiality behaviour of Czech women has changed substantially. Both the sharp decline in fertility and nuptiality levels and the postponement of family formation until higher ages have been extensively analysed. One of the most noticeable trends was the increase in proportion of non-marital childbirths, but there is no representative information about non-married mothers, especially about the proportion and characteristics of cohabiting and lone mothers. In this paper we use statistic records of births and marriages of the Czech Statistical Office, linked according to the unique ID# of woman, to analyse the behaviour of mothers before and after first childbirth. Each woman is followed for six years after her first childbirth, and the occurrences of second childbirth and (for singles) of the marriage are being recorded. On the basis of the sequence of marriage, first childbirth, and second childbirth, we identify five distinct types of behaviour – traditional marital childbirth (with/without premarital conception), birth in cohabitation (premarital or as an alternative to marriage), and lone motherhood. We observe characteristics of women by distinct types of behaviour and its incidence in two periods (1991 vs. 2001). The main finding of the paper is that the increase of proportion of non-marital births was counterbalanced especially by the decrease of premarital conceptions: Contrary to the past, when pregnancy was a strong impetus to marry promptly before birth delivery, women now tend to stay single. About half of single mothers does not experience nor marriage nor second childbirth until next six years, and they are considered as lone mothers. Other quarter marry after childbirth, while last quarter bear also second child without entering marriage. Furthermore, we found wide differences between educational categories of women. While low-educated women tend to be lone mothers or to cohabit even after second childbirth, university educated mostly conceive and even concept their first child traditionally after marriage.

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