Uncertainty and lifestyle are reasons to postpone having children in Finland

2010 onwards, the fertility rate has fallen sharply in Finland, but the reasons for this decline are not well understood. How do Finns explain their decision not to have or not to have children while their fertility rate is declining?

According to a recent study, Reasons for postponing childbirth during declining birth rates in Finland, uncertain living conditions and lifestyle preferences were the main reasons for postponing or abandoning childbirth.

The survey is based on representative survey data from the Finnish Family Barometer conducted by the Finnish Family Federation Väestöliitto in 2015 and 2018. Participants were men and women between the ages of 20 and 44 who had deferred or not planning to give birth.

Participants were asked to rate the importance of various reasons for such decisions from a pre-determined list.

Three main groups of reasons for postponing or not having a baby

According to researchers Katerina Golovina A study from the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies identified three main groups of reasons for delaying or not having children (more).

“Uncertain living conditions emerged as the strongest factor behind the decision to postpone childbirth or not have children,” said Golovina.

It consisted of many facets of uncertainty, from perceived financial status, unfinished studies of oneself or one’s spouse, to apartment sizes, and challenges in combining paid work and childcare.

Lifestyle preferences were the second main factor in deciding whether to postpone childbearing or not have children.

“This means that adults are reluctant to change their current lifestyle and prefer other things in life than having children.”

Full fertility means that people have already achieved their fertility goals.

The study further explored which groups of people were more likely to report reasons for postponing or abandoning childbirth (based on socio-demographic characteristics) and factors such as extensive use of social media and increased employment. A recent sociocultural change-related attitude (“laborism”) was associated with these reasons.

Overall, participants with more stable living conditions, less frequent social media use, and less work orientation were less likely to report uncertainty as a reason for postponing or abandoning childbirth. Childless adults, especially women who frequently used social media and were more work-oriented, were more likely to cite lifestyle preferences as a reason for postponing having children.

first systematic examination

This study provides the first systematic examination of the reasons that explain adults’ decisions to postpone or abandon childbearing during the declining birth rate in Finland in the 2010s. Overall, these findings suggest that policy makers consider uncertainties (both objective and perceptual) and lifestyle preferences when introducing measures to support family formation and new family policies. suggesting that it is necessary.

As for further research, the data was collected before the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, so it explores how the reasons for postponing or abandoning childbirth have changed in times of escalating crises. It is important to


Source: University of Helsinki Uncertainty and lifestyle are reasons to postpone having children in Finland

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