Gewollt oder ungewollt? Der Forschungsstand zu Kinderlosigkeit
[Intentional or Unintenional? The State of Research on Childlessness]
by Jürgen Dorbritz, Ralina Panova and Jasmin Passet-Wittig
Childlessness has become a pervasive phenomenon in Germany, most notably in Western Germany. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the issue’s causes and consequences. This paper gives an overview of the current state of research, including definitions of childlessness, an assessment of available data and results of present-day research. The paper also lists research gaps and questions for further research – for example concerning men and childlessness, the paths to childlessness, unintentional childlessness and reproductive medicine as well as the linkage of partnership formation and childlessness. The paper also discusses differences between Eastern and Western Germany, the international context and the relationship of childlessness to education, living arrangements, employment situation and ethnic background. As current research often distinguishes between intentional and unintentional childlessness, it is important to view the phenomenon from a life course perspective.