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Journal section "Socio-demographic research"

Reasons for Postponing Childbirth and Society’s Attitude to Childlessness: Results of In-Depth Interviews with Russian Families

Korolenko A.V., Kalachikova O.N.

Volume 8, Issue 3, 2022

Korolenko A.V., Kalachikova O.N. (2022). Reasons for Postponing Childbirth and Society’s Attitude to Childlessness: Results of In-Depth Interviews with Russian Families. Social area, 8(3). DOI: 10.15838/sa.2022.3.35.2 URL: http://socialarea-journal.ru/article/29378?_lang=en

DOI: 10.15838/sa.2022.3.35.2

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The transformation of the Russian age model of fertility is largely due to the postponement of childbirth, which is the reason for both the decline in fertility and the final childlessness. Despite the fact that the problem has been developed by researchers, the study on the nature of this phenomenon from the perspective of families’ life experience is extremely in demand, since the decision on having children is most often made by both spouses in the family. The purpose of the work is to identify the reasons for postponing the birth of children in the families of Russians who are officially married, and public attitudes to this phenomenon. The information base of the research were the materials of in-depth interviews with the representatives of childless families. Based on the generalization of the experience presented in the existing studies, the reasons for childbirth postponement were grouped by their origin and level of impact. The article focuses on micro-level motives, since the object of the study is families postponing the birth of children. In marriages, the length of the protogenetic interval depends primarily on the spouses’ age. Young people usually postpone parenthood as they need time to create their family’s material base. The absence of children after the age of 35 is mainly due either to a violation of partnership relations, or to the unwillingness of the spouses (or one of them) to change their usual lifestyle, or to ill health. These factors are often accompanied by dissatisfaction with the financial situation. Special attention should be paid to the situations when the children of relatives or of a spouse from a previous marriage substitute their own children. The authors also revealed the scenarios of the conflict between spouses’ orientations on educational, professional, personal development and attitudes to childbearing. There are two positions observed among the respondents to solve the problems of inability to get pregnant and infertility – an active one (undergoing treatment, readiness to use reproductive technologies, less often to adopt) and a passive one (unwillingness to change the situation, submission). The research found that the attitude towards childless families is most loyal in the largest cities and the Moscow Oblast. The results of the study are of both theoretical significance (increment of scientific knowledge about intra-family motives for postponing childbearing) and the applied one (empirical basis for improving the state family and demographic policy)


reproductive motives, postponement of childbirth, childless families, in-depth interview

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