Cornelia Mureșan

Effects of Education and of Union Type on Men’s Lifetime Fertility in Two Different Societal Contexts

Cornelia Mureșan

Article information

Volume: XI Issue: 2, Pages: 127-144
Cornelia Mureșan
Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Cluj-Napoca, Romania


There is a huge literature examining fertility trends and its determinants in low-fertility societies, but studies on men are rare even there is a general acceptance that the de-standardization of family life concerns especially men. We study the development of men’s lifetime fertility inside unions in former communist countries is contrasted with the more studied dynamic of male fertility in Nordic countries. The paper displays selected features of men’s fertility in six European countries over the period 1985-2004/2010, based on data from national Generations and Gender Surveys, and using duration-based total fertility rates in the spirit of parity-progression ratios developed by Hoem and Mureșan. We found that in former communist countries, where families are usually double-breadwinner type, but domestic cores and childbearing are rather women’s responsibilities, the negative effect of education on male fertility is more influential than the effect of more committed union types. By contrast, in modern societies, with more similar gender equality across welfare-state institutions, the ultimate fertility of men depends less on their educational attainment but more on their union patterns. We also show that in consensual union settings the effect of education is invariable negative, even if it is less significant in the Nordic countries. Only in Eastern Europe the mechanism of the effect of education on men’s marital fertility is driven via the educational attainment of their wives.

Keywords: male fertility, education, marital and cohabiting unions, former-communist countries, Generations and Gender Surveys.


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