On the Association between Parenthood, Number of Children and Expectations of Old-Age Welfare

Tomass Nielsen , Tallinn University

This paper seeks to explore the association between having children and expected subjective old-age welfare within a European context. Data for 31 countries from the European Social Survey is used to model the respondents’ worry for expected old-age wellbeing and welfare. Having children, and the number of children, are the primary explanatory variables, but a broad set of controls including gender, age, educational level, household income and health as well as others are included. Four regional grouping are constructed from the original 31 countries to allow for a discussion of regional variations in the association. Results specific to those age cohorts that have completed fertility, respondents aged 40-60, and those who either have or do not have children at all receive special attention in the analysis. The results indicate that those respondents with higher number of children report that they are less worried about old-age welfare compared to those who have fewer children. In general, those without children had lower worry regarding their old-age than those with children, but this result is not strongly statistically significant and displays regional and country variations. In general, the ambition of this paper is to further address and explore the extent to which children could be considered a positive long-term net welfare contributor at the individual level, and thus whether having perceived old-age security benefits from children contributes to more positive fertility outcomes.

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 Presented in Session P1. Postercafe