• Tue. Mar 5th, 2024

Unexpected Results: Education and Family Formation in Women and Men


Feb 12, 2024
Increasing education levels did not lead to an increase in the number of male children

A recent study by the Institute for Economic Research Etla has revealed an unexpected result: women with advanced education are more likely to find a spouse and have children by the age of 37, while men’s level of education does not promote family formation. This finding challenges previous assumptions that education makes it difficult for women to start a family but helps men find a relationship.

The study compared register data of individuals born between 1979-1985 who pursued secondary education or university of applied sciences. Those who barely exceeded or barely fell below the admission limits were included in the study. The assumption was that the groups of those who got in and those who stayed out near the entry border have quite similar characteristics. For men, the effect of education on income was significant, but it didn’t affect their likelihood of having children.

Access to secondary education increased the number of children for women by 5%, and access to a university of applied sciences by a further 5%, compared to those who were left out. The group thinks that education increases the number of women’s children because the jobs of educated people are more flexible according to the needs of the family, making them desirable partners for reproduction. However, in men, the effect was close to zero for one reason or another.

Virtanen speculated that the phenomenon could be explained by the fact that men who have reached university postpone having children. The study also indicated that education might be considered a sign of the ability to be a parent, especially for women. The reasons for these results are still unknown, and the next phase of the project aims to uncover these explanations. While these results cannot be generalized to all educated and uneducated people, they provide valuable insights into the effects of education on family formation.

This study challenges long-held beliefs about how education affects family formation, revealing unexpected trends in this area. It is important to continue researching this topic to gain a better understanding of how different factors impact family formation and how we can support individuals in making informed decisions about their lives and relationships.

Overall, this study highlights how much there is still left to learn about complex social issues like family formation and its relationship with education level. As such, it underscores why continued research is crucial in order to develop effective policies and programs that support healthy families and communities.

In conclusion, this new study raises important questions about how we can better support individuals as they navigate complex social issues related to family formation and education level. By continuing research in this area, we can develop policies and programs that help individuals make informed decisions about their lives while promoting healthy families and communities overall.

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