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Heike Wirth and Kerstin Dümmler (2005)

The Influence of Qualification on Women's Childlessness between 1970 and 2001 in Western Germany – Analyses with the German Microcensus*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 30, 2-3/2005, p. 313-336, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398

Even though there is a growing concern about a socially selective pattern of childlessness among women and the implications for policy and the economy in Germany, there have been no comprehensive studies to analyse the extent of childlessness. This can be put down to the fact that the available data to study this issue are rather insufficient. Using official micro data, the aim of the present paper is to provide an initial overview of the structure of childlessness depending on qualification, age and birth cohort of women in Western Germany. Since most theories explain childlessness of women in modern societies in terms of their increasing labour force participation, the changes in female labour force participation over the last 30 years are described, too. The analyses are based on the population census 1970 and the micro census 1989 to 2001. Though the census and the micro census have some advantages over social surveys, there are some limitations when studying family patterns based on official micro data. These methodological issues will also be addressed in the paper.

* Original title: Der Einfluss der Qualifikation auf die Kinderlosigkeit von Frauen zwischen 1970 und 2001 in Westdeutschland – Analysen mit dem deutschen Mikrozensus (full text in German only)

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