The Transition to Second Child in Italy: Expectations and Realization

Short paper
By Francesca Rinesi, Antonella Pinnelli, Sabrina Prati, Cinzia Castagnaro, Claudia Iaccarino


The total fertility rate in Italy is well below replacement level but most women still plan to have two children. This gap between expressed fertility plans and observed reproductive behaviour warrants examination. The authors assess the correspondence between fertility intentions of women with one child and subsequent behaviour at micro level and highlight which characteristics affect both the formation of positive fertility intentions and their realization in the short run. Their analysis relies on an ad hoc dataset built by linking the 2002 edition of the Sample Survey on Births (where fertility intentions were asked) and the live births recorded in the Population Register from 2002 to 2008. The results clearly show that the fertility plans of women with one child play a crucial role in determining their subsequent reproductive behaviour. They tested the hypothesis that socioeconomic status and women’s housework burden affects both the intentions to have another child and their realization among women with one child. Their findings suggest that socioeconomic status affects not so much the formation of positive fertility intentions but rather their realization, while women’s housework burden does not display significant effects.


  • Fertility
  • fertility intentions
  • realization of intentions
  • Italy
  • second child
  • matching procedure
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