Childlessness in France : Recent Trends

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:50
Oral Presentation
Magali MAZUY, Ined, France
In the low European fertility context, French fertility is one of the highest in Europe. The level is quiet lower since two years, after more than two decades of stability.

This 'sustained fertility' is also driven by strong procreative norms: few women remain childless, and even very fewer by choice, and childlessness varies according to educational level. Most of the births occur while women are between 25 and 35 years old. Fertility at youngest or “oldest” ages is not so well accepted. Most of births occur outside marriage and conjugal situations at birth are more diverse.

Fertility pathways are polarized: young mothers are more often belonging to low social status, and there are strong discrepancies in private life pathways of women. Higher educated women used to remain more often childless.

But some of these norms are a little bit changing.

The aim of this paper is to analyze the recent evolutions of social differences in childlessness in the French context of “high” fertility. We assume that fertility indicators can show that social differences are vanishing, even if private life pathways of women are, in France, diverse, despite a low level of childlessness.