The division of labor for society's reproduction: on the concentration of childbearing and rearing in Austria.

Journal Article

The division of labor or concentration of fertility among certain portions of the Austrian population, as well as male-female distribution of child care, are computed by Lorenz curves. This method generates fractiles or percentiles, conveniently expressed here as the "have-halves", or the proportion of women that have half of the children. Data from the German census of 1939, which accounted for family size among 64 occupational groups, showed an abrupt fall in fertility from 1905, beginning with professors and doctors and spreading to other occupations, and a consequent increased concentration of fertility among smaller numbers of couples. Two 1% micro-censuses taken in Austria in 1976 and 1981 revealed that the baby-boom generation had a far less concentrated distribution of children. This was especially apparent in comparison with the war generation, with its characteristicly high degree of childlessness. The 1961-1965 marriage cohort showed the highest fertility of the century. The percentage of women who had half the children rose among baby boom couples to 28%, with more universal marriage and a trend toward the 2-child family. Recent data were also differentiated by province and by women's education. Concentration was least in Vienna where 0, 1 and 2-child families predominate. University trained women showed a polarity of high childlessness and large families. The trend with today's lower fertility is for increasing concentration: 38% have all children and 12.3% have half the children. The article ends with a detailed discussion of men's share of the actual childcare, a factor tending to further concentrate childrearing in the hands of a few women. Men do far less childcare than mothers, and within those hours they spend more time on playing with than on feeding or cleaning children. The larger the family, the higher the percentage of fathers that do no childcare at all. It is expected that fertility concentrations will fall as more families have 1 or 2 children, and fewer have no children, while men will take on a greater proportion of the childcare.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lutz, W; Vaupel, J

Published Date

  • 1987

Published In

  • Osterreichische Zeitschrift Fur Statistik Und Informatik

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 1-2

Start / End Page

  • 81 - 96