Regional Contexts and Family Formation: Evidence from the German Family Panel (pairfam)
Karsten Hank, University of Cologne
We use longitudinal data from the German Family Panel (pairfam) to investigate the role of regional contexts in family formation behaviors. The contribution of our multilevel analysis is threefold: While, first, previous research almost exclusively focused on women, we consider both sexes. Second, earlier studies did not account for regional differences within Eastern Germany, whereas our analysis includes all of Germany. Third, we are among the first to provide a quantitative assessment of possible contextual effects on individuals’ fertility intentions (in addition to considering first marriages and first births). Our findings show that regional diversity on individuals’ family formation behaviors is small and somtimes due to composition. Differences between East and West Germany are still apparent, though. Urbanization and economic conditions are significantly correlated with number of children and fertility intentions. Finally, there is evidence for effects of selective spatial relocation on the transition to first birth.