Educational fields and fertility in Western Germany: an analysis of women born 1955-59 with the Mikrozensus 2008

Anja Oppermann, University of Cologne

In recent years, research on education and fertility has been enriched by studies that take the educational field into account in addition the educational level. The aim of the present paper is to add Western Germany, a country with outstandingly high levels of childlessness, to the list of countries on which comparable research has been carried out. Using data from the German Mikrozensus 2008 the association between educational attainment, childlessness, and ultimate fertility among Western German women born between 1955 and 1959 is examined. The overall finding of the present analysis is that, despite the strong impact of the level of education, there is also a relationship between the educational field and childlessness in Western Germany. Consistent with previous findings from other countries, women educated in teaching and health-care are the group with the lowest rates of childlessness at each educational level, while those educated in administration, economics or social science are the groups with the highest levels of childlessness. Educational field and level account equally for variation in ultimate fertility. In further analysis the differences between Eastern and Western Germany with regard to childlessness is confirmed. At the same time similarities are observed in comparison with other European countries.

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Presented in Session 100: Education and fertility