gms | German Medical Science

62. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e. V. (GMDS)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie

17.09. - 21.09.2017, Oldenburg

Short-term fertility intentions for the third child in Germany and France

Meeting Abstract

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  • Anne Hornung - Institut für Biostatistik und Informatik in Medizin und Alternsforschung, Universitätsmedizin Rostock, Rostock, Deutschland

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie. 62. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e.V. (GMDS). Oldenburg, 17.-21.09.2017. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2017. DocAbstr. 275

doi: 10.3205/17gmds031, urn:nbn:de:0183-17gmds0312

Veröffentlicht: 29. August 2017

© 2017 Hornung.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open-Access-Artikel und steht unter den Lizenzbedingungen der Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (Namensnennung). Lizenz-Angaben siehe



Introduction: Traditionally, different family size norms exist in Germany and France – the two-child norm being the predominant family size in Germany and the French going beyond it more often. In comparative social studies, the higher fertility levels achieved in France are mostly explained by more family-friendly policies and institutional frameworks allowing for the employment of both parents under the condition of a widely developed public childcare sector (e.g. [1], [2]). Moreover, attitudes of parents towards external childcare and the employment of mothers differ in both countries [3], [4]. Comparing these different social settings, our study examines the intentions of 18- to 45-years-old women and men with two children in Germany (N=764) and France (N=947) to have the third child within the next three years.

Methods: Using the data of the Generations and Gender Survey 2005 (N≅10.000 per country), we compare descriptive findings concerning the intentions and perceived promoting and hindering factors for the third birth in the two countries. In multivariate logistic regression models, we estimate the impact of sociodemographic characteristics of respondent and household, of age- and fertility-related parameters and of the couple’s education and employment arrangement. Further insights are gained considering interaction effects of country and sex of the respondent.

Results: The main result is the considerable difference in the magnitude of short-term third-birth intentions between the two countries with increased chances to wish for the third child in France (OR=2.78, p<0.001). Within Germany, the more strongly pronounced intentions of western compared to eastern Germans are a remarkable finding (OR=4.67, p=0.030). Sex does not hold as a decisive category when analyzing two-child parents, but helps to further disentangle other effects. In both countries, the main impact can be attributed to the previous fertility behaviour, namely the age of the second child (p<0.001) and the spacing of previous births (p=0.001), and current age of the woman (p<0.001). Further determinants like the number of own siblings, marital status or the number of children from a previous partnership prove to be only relevant in France. One notable distinction between the countries is that an impact of educational attainment is only found in Germany, with increased third-birth intentions for highly-educated couples, and that the employment arrangement is only important in the French context. Here, arrangements deviating from the ‘norm’ of the dual-earner couple are linked to stronger intentions for the next birth.

Discussion: Our results on the short-term intentions for the third child confirm the assumed German-French differences regarding the two-child norm. The intentions, a precursor to subsequent behaviour, show a more favourable attitude of French parents towards having a larger family while German parents are more likely to stop childbearing with the birth of their second child. Obviously, having the third child seems to be a less ‘problematic’ decision in the French family-friendly setting.

Die Autoren geben an, dass kein Interessenkonflikt besteht.

Die Autoren geben an, dass kein Ethikvotum erforderlich ist.


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