Who decides about having children? Couples’ childbearing intentions and actual childbearing

<b>Abstract:</b> This study investigates how childbearing intentions of both partners in couples affect actual childbearing the coming years, with the intention to investigate whether women’s or men’s intentions may be more important. The study is set in Sweden, a country known for ranking high on gender equality and also a country with relatively high fertility. We use the Young Adult Panel Study (YAPS) which gives information about both partners’ attitudinal orientations and childbearing plans in 2009, and we then follow these couples for five years with register data on childbearing. In 30 percent of the couples both partners plan to have a child, and out of these about three quarters get a child. A fair share of the couples where partners do not completely agree also have a child. The results show that in general both partners need to agree on intentions for the couple to have a child, but that women’s intentions are more important among the couples who already have become parents, that is for continued childbearing.