Is late childbirth advantageous to the offspring’s development?

YAO Yuan1 CHENG Cheng1

(1.Institute for Empirical Social Science Research, School of Sociology, Xi’an Jiaotong University)

【Abstract】In the process of industrialization, the marriage and childbirth ages are generally postponed. This trend is also increasingly significant in China. Examining the persistent influence of parents’ childbearing age on their offspring’s development has become a global research project. According to most studies, for the offspring whose parents’ childbearing age is late, their development is more advantaged, but the relevant assessment based on Chinese context still needs to be filled. Using the data from China Education Panel Survey, this paper systematically tests the relationship between them and has the following findings. Regarding most indicators, there is a clear inverse U-shaped curve relationship between the parents’ childbearing age and the offspring’s development condition in adolescence. For the offspring whose parents conceived them among 26–29 years old, they have the best development in multiple aspects (especially educational achievement) in adolescence; while for the offspring whose parents conceived them too early or too late, they are more likely to be disadvantaged in development environment and achievement. Several factors could partly explain the above disadvantaged situations, including offspring composition, parents’ social-economic status and family environment.

【Keywords】 parents’ childbearing age; development environment; academic performance; physical and mental health; adolescents;

【DOI】

【Funds】 The National Social Science Fund of China (17CSH064)

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    Footnote

    [1]. (1) The data are based on the sixth census in 2010. The census data also provide the childbearing ages of parents in different childbirth orders. In 2010, the average age when the married women aged 15–49 give birth to the first child is 25.94 years old, that when they give birth to the second child is 30.44 years old, and that when they give birth to the third child or more is 33.22 years old. While the data in the fifth census are: 24.33 years old, 28.56 years old and 30.44 years old. The data in the fourth census in 1990 is: 22.64 years old, 25.44 years old and 29.33 years old. It can be seen that the childbearing age of each child is generally moving backward. [^Back]

    [2]. (2) The identified social functioning includes the dimensions such as the number of friends, and participation in social organizations. [^Back]

    [3]. (3) Thanks for the numerous valuable suggestions on empirical analysis modules such as model and variable selection, and urban-rural survey from the anonymous assessment experts. [^Back]

    [4]. (4) Except for the 23–25 year-old group, other age groups and 26–29 year-old group all pass the significance test. [^Back]

    [5]. (5) Due to length limitation of this article, all results reflecting the influence of the father’s age when the mother is pregnant are deleted. Results are available upon request. [^Back]

    [6]. (6) Thanks for the suggestions from the reviewers, but due to length limitation, these forms are not shown in the text of the article. [^Back]

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This Article

ISSN:1008-1437

CN: 11-3280/C

Vol , No. 05, Pages 12-24+94

September 2019

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review
  • 3 Research design
  • 4 Empirical result
  • 5 Conclusion and discussion
  • Footnote

    References