Perceived consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and childbearing intentions in Poland
Objective: We aim to investigate how the perceived consequences of COVID-19 affect people's childbearing intentions in Poland.
Background: With the pandemic having an impact on virtually all spheres of people's lives, some evidence already exists that it will lead to fertility postponement, as people are reluctant to make their reproductive choices in such uncertain times.
Method: We analyse a nationally representative sample of 1000 respondents aged 18-49. In the sample, 234 respondents declared that they had intended to have a child before the outbreak of the pandemic and about 20% of them stated having postponed or foregone their intention because of COVID-19. We perform logistic regression analyses to verify which perceived consequences of the pandemic are most decisive for this choice. We supplement our analyses with insights from qualitative, open-ended question on the effects of the pandemic.
Results: We find that people’s decision to postpone childbearing is related to respondents' perceived lower sense of financial security and worse mental well-being in the pandemic. In the model, where both factors are included, only mental well-being remains significant. Qualitative analyses point to several other factors important to fertility decisions in the pandemic, e.g., women’s fear of lonely childbirth.
Conclusion: People’s decision to postpone childbearing because of COVID-19 is mostly related to pandemic-induced financial insecurity and this effect seems to be mediated by the psychological reaction to the situation.
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