Biographic Discontinuities and Family Formation: Case Studies from Western and Eastern Germany

Laura Bernardi, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Holger Von der Lippe, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Sylvia Keim, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Young adults' working lives are increasingly marked by discontinuities as changing work locations, time-limited contracts or unemployment. These discontinuities require some flexibility and may be perceived as temporal economic uncertainty. This may shape fertility intentions and behavior, interfering with the timing of family formation. Our study investigates how young adults in eastern and western Germany perceive biographic discontinuities and how they affect their ideas and plans on family formation. The different demographic “regimes” of the previously divided Germanys offer an unprecedented possibility to compare how biographic discontinuities are framed in different cultural contexts. The empirical base is provided by qualitative interviews with men and women and their current partners, when available.

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Presented in Session 81: Desire, Intention and Behavior in Fertility and Reproductive Health