Family background, schooling and childlessness in Australia

Nicholas J. Parr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Using data from Wave 1 of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, this paper analyses the extent to which childlessness among Australian women aged 40-54 years varies according to the size and type of family in which they were brought up, and the level and type of schooling they had. Multilevel logistic analysis shows that having been educated in a non-government school, having stayed at school to year 12, having a small number of siblings, at age 14 having a father who was either dead or absent, at age 14 having a father who was employed in a professional occupation, or being a migrant from North or West Europe, North America, East Asia or South-East Asia, all are significantly associated with higher rates of childlessness among women in the 40-54 years age range. The effects of these early lifecourse variables on marital and socioeconomic status in later life, and hence on childlessness, are also considered. The implications of the findings for fertility trends and for Australia's public debate are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-243
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biosocial Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


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