Pathways to Adulthood and Fertility: A Comparative Analysis of Italy and Québec
Simona Bignami, Université de Montréal
The emergence of lowest-low fertility has been accompanied by a reversal of cross-country relationships between total fertility and the share of nonmarital births (Billari and Kohler, 2004). However, little research is available on the contribution of alternative types of union to fertility. This paper focuses on the links between fertility and the timing and sequencing of the transition to adulthood to explore whether late patterns of family formation are a necessary or sufficient condition for the emergence of very low and lowest-low fertility, and particularly whether the type of first union (cohabitation or marriage) affects the direction of this relationship. We compare Italy and Québec, as they have experienced similar declines in fertility and changes in the transition to adulthood but differ with respect to the proportion of cohabiting unions, which are widespread among Quebecois whereas remain a unpopular choice for Italians.