Attitudes and Intentions Toward Childlessness in Europe

  • Tomáš Sobotka
  • Maria Rita Testa
Part of the European Studies of Population book series (ESPO, volume 16/1)


This study uses the IPPAS data for 13 European societies to analyse attitudes related to childlessness and intentions to remain childless. We combine descriptive analysis of all analysed countries with logistic regression of intentions to remain childless in Belgium (Flanders), Germany, Italy and Poland for respondents aged 18–39. We observe that attitudes toward children and childlessness are similar for men and women, but depict a wide cross-country differentiation, with respondents in the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders) showing the most positive attitudes towards childlessness. The survey indicates that a significant proportion of younger childless respondents in each country intend to remain childless or are uncertain about parenthood. Germany stands out by the overall high levels of intended childlessness, as well as by a high proportion of uncertain and undecided respondents. Our analysis has documented a high degree of correlation between intended childlessness and preferences for less traditional living arrangements; as well as a strong association between respondents’ positive attitudes toward family life and their fertility intentions.


Childlessness Attitudes towards fertility Fertility intentions Parenthood 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomáš Sobotka
    • 1
  • Maria Rita Testa
  1. 1.Vienna Institute of DemographyViennaAustria

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