Housing Costs and Fertility in the United Kingdom

Brian Buh , Vienna Institute of Demography

Research focusing on fertility intentions has largely ignored income. However, recent work on fertility outcomes suggests that ignoring income highly biases results. Questions persist of which type of income, if any, is associated with fertility intentions: personal, household, relative, changes from previous year, subjective income or job-related wellbeing (subjective perception of the source of income). This project aims to study how different types of income and wellbeing measures influence short-term fertility intentions. Data from the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society) 2009-2020 allows me to study how (perceived) income may be linked to a decline in British fertility. I use regression and decomposition techniques to assess which type of income has the strongest association with fertility intentions. Initial findings indicate that higher personal income and income satisfaction are associated with individuals who respond to fertility intention as probably yes. Feeling a low level of job-related depression negatively impacts the likelihood of answering definitely yes. Moving forward, I plan to further investigate by considering educational attainment, parity and employment characteristics. The household design of the survey also allows me to take a dyadic approach to fertility intention, the level in which most fertility decisions are taken. Initial findings confirm the relevance of the subject. I seek to contribute to the academic discourse surrounding the role that income plays in individual and couple’s short-term fertility intentions specifically considering recent literature that suggests definitely and probably positive and negative intentions are clearly differentiated by respondents.

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 Presented in Session P1. Postercafe