Childlessness and the Hajnal line: A real division or based on other contextual and individual factors? : A quantitative study

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Sociologiska institutionen

Abstract: This thesis examines the phenomenon of childlessness and its manifestation across Europe in association with ideas of Hajnal's west and east division of Europe. I explore whether other potentially correlated factors explain this division. Specifically, contextual factors such as accession to the European Union or individual factors such as educational level or values associated with the Second Demographic Transition may explain the association with the Hajnal line. The data set used for analysis comes from World Values Survey 6 and stepwise logistic regression was used on women born 1959-1975. Results revealed that Hajnal's East and West division of Europe matters in terms of childlessness, and belonging to Western Europe increases the odds of staying childless, yet, the association between childlessness and European Union membership is robust, as well. Hajnal indicator appeared to absorb the difference in childlessness related to traditional values adherence, while positive association between tertiary education and childlessness revealed to be more robust in all contexts. The models have shown that accession with European Union is positively associated with childlessness and societies of EU are more likely to stay childless. The study has shown that a clear geographical or regional difference in childlessness can be identified, but whether it is related to cultural factors discussed by Hajnal or the developments related to EU accession is still not clear.

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