Who prefers zero? Attitudes toward childlessness in Russia and in its capital city

Svetlana S. Biryukova, National Research University Higher School of Economics
Alla Tyndik, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

The current study provides new insights into explaining individual differences in the attitude toward childlessness in Russia. The main research aim is defining who are childless people in modern Russia and to what extent this status is compulsory (i.e. reproductive norms are lowered due to unfavorable life circumstances) or truly voluntary. Moscow is examined separately within the research as the most advanced in respect to the second demographic transition region of the country. Generally Russia is a country with prevalence of two-children family social norm, but recently a share of women remaining childless by the end of reproductive period started increasing. The statistical base of the research includes a) third wave of Generations and Gender Survey (GGS), conducted in Russia in 2011; b) second wave of Moscow and its Citizens Survey (MaCS), conducted in the Russian capital in 2013. Both our sub-samples include childless men and women of 18-49 years. In the research we use binary logistic models. Dependent variables include “zero” as desired number of children. Main explanatory variables include age, gender, number of children in parent family, main socio-economic characteristics and personal values of the respondents. The results show that recently not only the prevalence of childlessness increased in Russia but also the societal acceptance of this status improved. Thus the portraits of child-free individuals in Moscow and in Russia differ a lot. The tentative conclusion is that the demand for the information about reproductive health and assisted reproductive technologies will be growing in the following years which should be factored into the Russian demographic policy.

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Presented in Session 85: Family ideals and preferences