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Counting on Potential Grandparents? Adult Children's Entry Into Parenthood Across European Countries

Rutigliano, R., Aug-2020, In : Demography. 57, 4, p. 1393-1414 22 p.

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As populations age and longevity rises, the structure of the extended family is changing. Parents of young children are increasingly turning to the children's grandparents to provide childcare and help them reconcile work and family. This study is the first to investigate whether would-be grandparents' propensity to care for their grandchildren influences the adult children's transition to parenthood. Because grandparental childcare provision is not observable at the time of the transition to the first birth, I built a measure based on the characteristics of both actual grandparents and adult children to act as a proxy for the childcare that prospective grandparents are expected to provide in the future. Using data from the first two waves of the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe, I examine changes in the likelihood of having a first birth by different levels of expected future childcare provision. Given that the role grandparents play varies depending on the national context, I estimate distinct models for different groups of countries. Furthermore, I analyze different intensities of grandparental childcare: regular, occasional, and any other type of positive childcare. The comparison across 11 countries reveals that grandparental propensity to provide occasional childcare has a positive effect on the transition to parenthood in all country clusters and that grandparental propensity to provide regular childcare has a positive and significant association with having a first child in both pro-natalist (Belgium and France) and pro-traditional countries (Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1393-1414
Number of pages22
JournalDemography
Volume57
Issue number4
Early online date9-Jun-2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2020

    Keywords

  • Childcare, Transition to parenthood, Fertility, Grandparents, Intergenerational relations, FAMILY POLICIES, INTERGENERATIONAL SUPPORT, CARE, FERTILITY, PARTICIPATION, GRANDCHILDREN, CHILDLESSNESS, AVAILABILITY, CHILDBEARING, PERSPECTIVE

ID: 124024204