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The Age at which Childbearing Starts--A Longitudinal Study

Kathleen E. Kiernan and I. Diamond
Population Studies
Vol. 37, No. 3 (Nov., 1983), pp. 363-380
DOI: 10.2307/2174504
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2174504
Page Count: 18
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The Age at which Childbearing Starts--A Longitudinal Study
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Abstract

What characteristics differentiate between men and women who start their families at different ages? In this study we identify characteristics in their childhood, adolescence and early adult life of men and women who begin childbearing at different ages for a British post-war birth cohort which has been followed up from birth to the present time. From the variables identified as influencing age at first birth, a set of the best predictor variables is used in logistic regression analyses to construct models which show the probability of starting childbearing at different ages, and unconditional models are fitted to estimate the probability of remaining childless to age 32. The results indicate that the family of origin exerts a strong influence on the age at which men and women became parents. Educational attainment was the most important discriminator and was also a powerful mediator between the effects of family of origin and early adolescent characteristics on age at first birth. The effect of educational level was stronger for women than for men. Other characteristics that had an important influence on age at first birth were, for example, ambition, parental interest in their children and social class.

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