Explanations for very low fertility in 'strong family' countries emphasise the relatively high costs of childrearing but pay little attention to the potentially offsetting influences of distinctive living arrangements. In this paper, we use data from nationally representative surveys of married women of reproductive age in Japan and Italy to demonstrate that intergenerational co-residence and residential proximity to parents(-in-law) are positively associated with fertility intentions. We also examine ways in which relationships between living arrangements and fertility intentions may depend on family circumstances associated with the opportunity costs, psychological costs and economic costs of childrearing. Contrary to expectations, we find no evidence that intergenerational residential proximity is associated with higher fertility intentions among women for whom the opportunity costs of childrearing are thought to be the greatest. However, there is some relatively limited support for hypothesised moderating influences of the psychological and economic costs of childrearing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Fertility intentions
- Living arrangements