Family Background, Schooling, and Childlessness in Australia

Nick Parr, Macquarie University

This paper addresses the relationships between the size and type of family in which an Australian woman grew up, the level and type of schooling she had, and her likelihood of being childless in the 40-54 age range, using data from Wave 1 of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Multilevel logistic analysis shows that having fewer siblings, marital disruption of the family by age 14, a father who was employed in a professional occupation, education in a non-government school, staying at school to Year 12 or above, and being a migrant from North-West Europe, North America, East or South-East Asia all are associated with higher rates of childlessness. The effects of these early lifecourse variables on marital and socioeconomic status in later life are considered. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for Australia's public debate.

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Presented in Session 118: Family Background Effects