Using data from the first wave of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS) for 2867 women and 2195 men aged 40 to 79, this study examines to what extent educational, employment and marital pathways shape the likelihood of remaining childless, and whether these pathways are gendered. The findings indicate that women and men have distinctive pathways into childlessness. Educational attainment increases the likelihood of remaining childless among women only. A stable career increases the likelihood of remaining childless among women, but it increases the likelihood of entering fatherhood. Years without a partner is positively associated with childlessness among both women and men. Not having had a partnership and having had multiple partnerships are strong determinants of childlessness, especially among men.

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Journal of Biosocial Science
Department of Sociology

Keizer, R., Dykstra, P., & Jansen, M. (2007). Pathways into childlessness: Evidence of gendered life course dynamics. Journal of Biosocial Science, 40(6), 863–878. doi:10.1017/S0021932007002660