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The impact of grandparental investment on mothers' fertility intentions in four European countries
Tanskanen, Antti O., July-December 2014
Demographic Research, 31(), 1-26

Evolutionary theory predicts that grandparental investment should support the childbearing of adult children, but evidence from contemporary developed countries is mixed or relatively weak. One possible reason for this lack of clarity is that grandparental support for fertility may vary by country, the economic situation of the adult child's household, and the lineage and the sex of the grandparent. Objective We investigate the associations between grandparental investments and the intentions of mothers to have a second or third child in four European countries -- Bulgaria, France, Lithuania, and Norway -- while paying special attention to effect of the country, the financial security of the household, and the different grandparent types. Methods Using the first wave data (2004-08) of the Generations and Gender Surveys, we measured grandparental investment by the amount of child care help and emotional support mothers reported receiving from their parents. We studied these factors with binary logistic regression analysis. Results Both emotional support and child care help from grandparents were associated with increased fertility intentions in France and Norway. Emotional support was also associated with increased fertility intentions in Bulgaria, while grandparental child care help was associated with decreased intentions in Lithuania. Emotional support was more strongly associated with fertility intentions in financially secure households. Emotional support received from a maternal grandmother, a maternal grandfather, and a paternal grandmother; and child care help received from a maternal grandfather; were associated with an increased probability that a mother would report the intention to have another child. Conclusions Grandparental investment, especially emotional support, appears to be most influential in wealthier European countries and among more financially secure families. When a family's socioeconomic situation and the broader environment are generally favourable for having several children, grandparents may provide the "extra push" that supports the intention to have another child. (author abstract)

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Time to care: Generation generosity under pressure
Family and Childcare Trust, July, 2014
London: Family and Childcare Trust.

New research by Ipsos MORI, jointly commissioned by Grandparents Plus, Save the Children and the Family and Childcare Trust, investigates the impact of being a grandparent on people's attitudes and choices, and whether these are further influenced by the amount of time spent caring for their grandchildren. The research shows that, although being a grandparent in itself does not significantly influence people's actions and attitudes, being a grandparent who spends a substantial amount of time caring for grandchildren is often associated with different attitudes and behaviours. A key issue that arises from the polling is the considerable contribution that millions of grandparents are making to provide much needed informal childcare and financial support for their grandchildren. 1.9 million grandparents have given up a job, reduced their hours, or taken time off work, to look after their grandchildren. In some cases this means a loss in income. These statistics reflect the strength of grandparenting ties and challenge the notion that the extended family is no longer important. There is strong support among grandparents and the public for the extension of some workers' rights, currently available to parents, so grandparents are able to look after their grandchildren while remaining in work. There is also a clear need to increase the affordability of formal childcare to reduce the pressure on grandparents to fill the gap. (author abstract)

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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