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Voluntary Childlessness in Southern Europe: The Case of Spain

From: Population Review
Volume 52, Number 1, 2013



Many post-industrial societies have seen not only a decline in fertility rates and a postponement of first births, but also an increase in voluntary childlessness. While Spain is no exception, the issue of why some women in this country choose to forego motherhood has received little attention. Drawing on the Spanish Survey on Fertility and Values (2006), this study analyzes the weight in the decision of three groups of variables having proven crucial for fertility behaviour. Individual socioeconomic circumstances related to the costs of motherhood, the delay in economic independence and union formation, and attitudinal work and family orientations prove all important; which indicates Spain's resemblance to other Western societies. Still, the particularly manifest relevance of a delayed transition to adulthood brings the Spanish case especially close to the Italian one; raising further questions on the fine line separating chosen from accepted childlessness in Southern Europe.

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