Using a sample of 2,350 mothers under 40-years-old using 38 nursery schools and kindergartens in a metropolitan area in Japan, this study examined effects of mothers' childcare anxiety upon desire for children. A relation was not proved in a demographic study, although it has been pointed out that childcare anxiety is one of the factors which affect Japan's declining birthrate. Multivariate analyses undertaken for this study revealed that mothers, who have high childcare anxiety, had significantly less desire for additional children. On the other hand, the degree of a trouble experienced by mothers in childcare does not affect their will to bear children. Results suggest the importance of a policy to reduce childcare anxiety of mothers as a measure against the declining birthrate. In addition, accumulated information from studies has mainly elucidated the effects that social economic factors exert on childbearing decisions in terms of demography, but results of this study suggest that the effect of a mother's psychological condition upon the childbearing decision is not small. These results show that it is important to push forward studies to elucidate influences of psychological factors to understand recent childbearing decision-making.
This paper first reviews recent patterns of fertility and partnership in a number of European countries and Japan. Since the late 1960s, these countries have experienced significant fertility decline. Rather than by an increased incidence of childlessness, this was driven mainly by postponement of the first birth, and a limited number of births taking place thereafter. In addition, fewer marriages took place, while the incidence of cohabitation increased, marriage took place later, and marriage became more unstable, reflected in increasing divorce rates. Next, this paper reviews two commonly used explanatory frameworks of fertility decline - on increasing opportunity costs and on value change - and concludes that they cannot account for recent phenomena such as a reversed relation between female labour force participation and fertility, and between progressiveness and fertility, or persistently high desired fertility. This is because they fail to bring in the notion of combinability. The focus of the third section of this paper is on the policy implications of bringing in this notion of combinability.
In Japan where almost all births have been taking place in wedlock, fertility decline in the last few decades has been mainly associated with the increasing proportion of non-married women of reproductive age. Recent studies on Japanese fertility, however, increasingly focus on the new trend of fertility change, decline in marital fertility. This study investigates the effects of women's socio-economic status as measured by educational attainment and labor force participation on the first, second and third birth intensities in post-war Japan. The parity transitions from 1956 to 2001 are analyzed by employing multi-variate event-history analysis. The data I used is the National Family Research of Japan 2001 Special (NFRJ-S01), a nationally representative survey on the life course of Japanese women. The effect of the childcare support provided by grandparents who live with or close to children is also examined as an important factor in reducing the cost of children and bearing wives' duties of childcare in Japanese society. By using a rich dataset in women's life histories, we reveal the mechanism of the change in marital fertility relating to the rise in women's socio-economic statuses in the last half of the 20th century in Japan.