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Gert Stulp: is the desire for children influenced by the personal network?

Fruitful ideas: is the desire for children influenced by the personal network?

Having a child is a major event. Suddenly there’s a dependent human being that requires an enormous amount of time, energy and money. Resources that can also be put into study, travel, hobby, career or other ways of selffulfilment. Whether, and if so, when to start a family is therefore an important question for many people.

Gert Stulp

Having a partner, a suitable home and a permanent job play a major role in the desire to have children, but the behaviour of others is also influential.

Social influence can be expressed in various ways. Family and friends can provide support, for example, by babysitting or providing financial support. But those same friends and relatives can also exert pressure. Many people in their thirties are asked whether there’s a child on the way, which can lead to a feeling that waiting is not really appropriate. At the same time, the pressure a person feels when they are ‘the first’ in a group of friends to think about starting a family can cause a delay.

People also learn from their network. At what age do friends start a family? How easily do they combine their job and family life? Are people happier with or without children? How individuals answer these questions depends very much on who they see. The experiences and behaviour of acquaintances, friends and family with regard to children, and the experienced support and pressure from the network, therefore have an influence on the wish to have children.

dr. G. (Gert) Stulp
First name
Associate professor sociology
fertility outcomes; data science in the social sciences; simulation; R; visualisation; human behavioural ecology; biosocial approach; height
Last modified:03 September 2019 1.37 p.m.
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