Differences in the transition to first motherhood in Italy have usually been explained using women’s educational attainment, income, or employment instability. Our aim is to analyse whether, and how, entries into motherhood also vary by field of study. Drawing on the Indagine Longitudinale delle Famiglie Italiane (ILFI) up to 2005, we ran discrete-time hazard rate models. The results show that in Italy highly educated women trained in science and technology are not the least prone to enter into motherhood. Rather, three distinct groups of women emerge: a) those with a general upper secondary diploma and with a degree in medicine, who are the least likely to become first-time mothers; b) those with a degree in teaching and psychology, who are the most likely to become mothers; c) those trained in all other fields, who show no difference in timing to first birth. Thus, the woman’s level and type of education seem to matter much less than what has been found in other countries. In a context with still relatively traditional gender roles and family formation processes, and with relatively weak returns to education, education appears to matter most in the transition to first union.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.