The Mystery of the Childless Woman: An Insight into Childlessness in Italy

Massimo Livi Bacci, University of Florence
Letizia Mencarini, University of Florence
Silvana Salvini, University of Florence
Maria Letizia Tanturri, University of Florence

This paper is intended to get an insight into childlessness in Italy. The aim of the paper is twofold. Firstly, we assess the relevance of childlessness in Italy both in a comparative and historical perspective, using aggregated data. The second part of the paper is dedicated to identify different profiles of childless women. In particular, we are interested in assessing whether and at what extent childlessness is the result of a deliberate choice or rather the consequence of continuous postponement or a sort of "side effect" of other situations e.g. partnership instability. In doing so we examine the results of a specific-purpose CATI survey conducted in 2002 on about 1,000 childless women at the end of their reproductive lives, living in five Italian towns. "Focus groups" techniques on childless women in the same towns have also been applied in order to substantiate the quantitative results of the CATI survey.

Presented in Session 107: Fertility Attitudes and Preferences II