Couples’ first child intentions and disagreement: An analysis of the Italian case

Alessandro Rosina, Maria Rita Testa

    Publication: Scientific journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The aim of this article is to examine the determinants of couples’ childbearing intentions, by explicitly taking into account the agreement or disagreement of the two members of the couple. The relevance of the partner’s reproductive intentions has been well recognised in the literature, but few studies have provided in-depth analyses of the fertility plans of both partners. In our study, we used the household-level data from a survey on “Family and Social Subjects”, carried out by the Italian National Statistical Office in 2003, which provides characteristics on both partners. We adopted a couple’s perspective which allows us to give a unitary picture of the concordant or discordant nature of partners’ first child intentions. We found that a lack of agreement in the reproductive decision-making process is likely to occur in the Italian couples where the role of the woman is less traditional. In particular, cohabitant, highly educated and working women are more likely to be in disagreement with their partners in the decisions concerning having a first child. Being religious may be also a source of discordance in the couples’ reproductive plans. Our findings support the utility of taking a couple-based approach in studies on fertility intentions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)487 - 502
    JournalEuropean Journal of Population
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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