A recent study by the Institute for Economic Research Etla has revealed an unexpected finding: highly educated women are more likely to have a spouse and children by the age of 37, while men’s level of education does not promote family formation. The study looked at register data for 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 results differ significantly from previous assumptions, with both highly educated women and men having a spouse and children more frequently than those with secondary education. However, there is still little research on the cause and effect relationships in this area.
For men, the effect of education on income was significant but did not 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 believes that education increases the number of women’s children because educated people have more flexible jobs that fit better with family needs, making them attractive partners for reproduction.
Virtanen speculates that the phenomenon could be explained by men who have reached university postponing having children due to other priorities such as career development or financial stability. The study also suggests that education may be considered a sign of parental ability, especially for women. While these results cannot be generalized to all educated and uneducated people, they provide valuable insights into how education affects family formation.
Overall, this study challenges previous assumptions about the effects of education on family formation, highlighting the need for further research in this area to fully understand these complex relationships.