Childbearing followship marital dissolution in Britain

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Citation: Jefferies, J., Berrington, A., Diamond, I. (2000) Childbearing followship marital dissolution in Britain. European Journal of Population (RSS)
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): Childbearing followship marital dissolution in Britain
Tagged: uw-madison (RSS), wisconsin (RSS), sociology (RSS), demography (RSS), prelim (RSS), qual (RSS), WisconsinDemographyPrelimAugust2009 (RSS)


This paper investigates the subsequent fertility of British women who have experienced the dissolution of their first marriage in recent decades. Just to illustrate the period divorce rate in England and Wales in 1995 was 0.43 divorces per marriage only below of Norway (0.44), Finland (0.49) and Sweden (0.50). The authors test the hypotheses that the probability of having a birth declines linearly with increasing parity and alternatively that a joint child (one that is the biological child of both partners) is important to confirm a new union and unite different family members. Data from 7739 women from 1990-95 General Household Surveys are used to examine the socio-demographic factors associated with experiencing a post-dissolution birth. Unfortunately the survey did not collect data on men's fertility histories. This is particularly problematic given Thomson (1997) that the parity of husbands and wives interact. However, it does allow us to identify whether the partner is previously married. Discrete-hazard models are used. About one half of women who had experienced marital dissolution went on experience a conception within twelve years. A woman's age and her repartnering status are shown to be factors most strongly associated with the probability of a post-dissolution conception. Indeed, women who are currently cohabiting are significantly more likely to have a conception leading to a birth than those who are not living with a partner. Moreover, women marrying with a bachelor are even more likely than those marrying with men that were previously married. This could indicate a greater desire to father a child among childless men than those who have already a child, if it assumed that never married men are more likely to be childless. The age of a woman's youngest child is found to be more strongly associated with her likelihood of experiencing a conception than her parity at marital dissolution. Finally, as mentioned by Suchindran et al (1985), remarried women might be more likely to have further children than those simply living with a partner, however there is an issue of circularity here because positive fertility intentions or actual pregnancies may lead to remarriage.