Informations and abstract
Keywords: fertility plans, Italy, regions, young people, COVID-19.
Empirical evidence collected at the beginning of the pandemic has shown that the COVID-19 related economic crisis has depressed the fertility plans of young people in Europe, especially in Italy and among those with more vulnerable positions in the labour market. This paper explores the heterogeneity of the pandemic effect on fertility intentions according to the individual’s occupational status, which might act as protective or detrimental factor for the pre-pandemic fertility plans. Previous studies have also suggested that some contextual characteristics prior to the pandemic, particularly those associated with low fertility in Italy, might play a role in determining the downward revision of the fertility plans. Therefore, the paper explores whether the heterogeneity of these institutional and cultural features at the regional level (such as the level of youth unemployment and female employment, the availability of childcare services, and the spread of gender egalitarian values) moderates the association between the individuals’ occupational condition and their propensity to re-arrange their fertility plans because of the pandemic. The analysis has been conducted on data from two surveys of the Rapporto Giovani (carried out in March and October 2020), on a sample of 758 young individuals (18-34 years old) representative of the Italian young population. Results from multinomial models show that only in October, in regions with more performant labour markets and gender egalitarian culture, those with more vulnerable occupations and Neets are more prone to abandon the pre-COVID fertility plans; on the contrary, in regions with higher youth unemployment, low female employment and traditional gender culture, the same occupational categories show higher chances to still planning a child during the pandemic.