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Health in early adulthood and fertility: a study based on the 1958 British cohort

Eleonora Trappolini, Giammarco Alderotti and Alyce Raybould ()
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Alyce Raybould: University College London, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/

No 2024_01, Econometrics Working Papers Archive from Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti"

Abstract: Although the relationship between health and fertility in low-income settings has been well explored by demographers, it is surprisingly lacking from equivalent studies in high-income contexts. In this study, we use data from the 1958 National Child Development Study to understand how self-rated health and BMI reported at age 23 relate to achievement of fertility goals by age 46. We found that worse self-reported health and being outside of the healthy weight BMI category at 23 was strongly associated with having fewer children and underachieving fertility goals set at age 23 by 46. These results remained when controlling for socioeconomic controls like education and union history. Our findings suggest that health in early adulthood is an important determinant, whether direct or indirect, for individuals’ family life course trajectories. This paper strongly endorses the inclusion of health as an explanatory variable for all studies of fertility in high-income contexts.

Keywords: health; fertility; fertility intentions; BMI; self-rated health; life course; United Kingdom (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 32 pages
Date: 2024-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem
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