Intergenerational transfers and reproductive patterns

Debra Judge, University of Western Australia

Human populations commonly exhibit a pattern of 3 overlapping generations of women. Numerous (though not all) examinations of historical populations document the positive impact of surviving extended kin (particularly grandmothers) on fertility and/or on survival of children born within the family. At the same time, cross-sectional and cross-cultural comparisons indicate that certain forms of intergenerational investments (e.g. education) are associated with delayed and overall lower fertility. This preliminary study of contemporary women in Western Australia uses an in-depth questionnaire to assess types and amounts of intergenerational support and subsequent timing of family formation and child bearing. Women between the ages of 45 and 70 recount the types and amounts of support that they received and their own reproductive histories. They also recount the support that they subsequently provided to their offspring, the reproductive histories of those offspring, and support provided to their grand-offspring. I examine intergenerational transfers and subsequent reproductive behaviour within families over generations and between families. Thus, this study examines the mechanisms of intergenerational transfers and support that can promote and that can slow family formation, age at first pregnancy, and subsequent fertility over 2 generations. Participants were recruited to facilitate an ecological comparison between rural and metropolitan-living women.

Presented in Poster Session 3