The Importance of Parental Happiness for Understanding Low Fertility

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:45
Location: Elise Richter Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Rachel MARGOLIS, University of Western Ontario, Canada
Mikko MYRSKYLA, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany
Understanding how having children influences parents’ subjective well-being (“happiness”) has great potential to explain fertility behavior. This is especially important in low fertility societies, where births are usually anticipated and parents update their desired number of children after having a first. We examine how happiness trajectories of new parents can help explain why so many people stop at having only one child and how important parental happiness trajectories are for fertility behavior at the population level. This presentation will highlight important determinants of parental happiness, such as socioeconomic status, partnership context, and parity. We discuss important consequences of parental happiness at critical periods such as the transition to parenthood and how policies can shape parental well-being. Analysis of longitudinal data from Germany and the United Kingdom shed light on these dynamics on two low fertility settings.