A recent study published by the Institute for Economic Research Etla has revealed a surprising result: while women with advanced education are more likely to find a spouse and have children by the age of 37, men’s level of education does not promote family formation. The study, which looked at the effect of education on children’s income, was conducted by research manager and author Hanna Virtanen.
In the past, it was believed that education made it difficult for women to start a family but helped men find a relationship. However, both highly educated women and men have a spouse and children more frequently than those with secondary education, who in turn have a family more often than those with only primary school education. Despite this, there is still very little research on the cause and effect relationships in this area.
The study compared the register data of individuals born between 1979-1985 who pursued secondary education or university of applied sciences. Those who barely exceeded or barely fell below the admission limits were included in the study. The assumption was that the groups of those who got in and those who stayed out near the entry border have quite similar characteristics. For men, the effect of education on income was significant, but it didn’t affect their likelihood of having children.
Access to secondary education increased the number of children for women by 5%, and access to a university of applied sciences by a further 5%, compared to those who were left out. The group thinks that education increases the number of women’s children because jobs held by educated people are more flexible according to family needs, making them desirable partners for reproduction. However, in men, the effect was close to zero for one reason or another.
Virtanen speculated that the phenomenon could be explained by men who have reached university postpone having children or that they may see higher levels of education as an indicator of their ability to be good parents or providers for their families. While these results cannot be generalized to all educated and uneducated people, they provide valuable insights into how education affects family formation.
The next phase of this project aims to uncover these explanations and provide more context around this interesting finding.
In conclusion, while there are many factors that affect family formation, recent studies suggest that access to higher levels