How Was the First One? Parental Well-Being Surrounding First Birth and Further Parity Progression

Rachel Margolis, University of Western Ontario

Childbearing is a decision for most people in low fertility contexts. The vast majority of Europeans intend to have two children, but many fall short of their childbearing intentions. Why do many people stop at one, rather than have another? We find that in a context where new parents have little experience with babies, the transition to parenthood is a critical phase for whether they go on to have a second birth. A drop in parental subjective well-being surrounding first birth is strongly and negatively associated with progression to second birth in Germany. Parents’ experience with a previous birth is an important and understudied factor in determining completed family size. Policymakers interested in increasing the proportion of couples having a second birth should pay attention to factors that influence the well-being of new parents.

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Presented in Session 41: Low Fertility