In an international comparison, Germany, particularly West Germany, has one of the highest rates of childlessness. Among the birth cohorts presently ending their fertile life stages, a little more than 20 percent are childless. This rise in childlessness, alongside the declining rates of third and more children, is partly responsible for the decline in the birth rate.
The project searches for the causes of permanent childlessness and how it occurs over the life course. A special focus is on the identification of determinants of the transition to the first child, based on secondary analyses of quantitative data. Also the question of the extent to which permanent childlessness is desired or unwanted plays a role. Against the background of an increasing mean age at first childbirth, fertility problems gain in importance. In addition to analyses of Germany, international comparisons are also increasingly being done. Beyond that, more longitudinal analyses as well as analyses within the couple context are planned. Empirical bases are the SOEP, pairfam and GGS panels as well as official data.