Abstract

Portanti M, Whitworth S. A comparison of the characteristics of childless women and mothers in the ONS Longitudinal Study. Population Trends 2009; 136 (Summer): 10-20.

An increase in the number of childless women has been a prominent feature of the post baby boom period of fertility decline. However, childlessness as a stand alone research topic has received less attention within the literature on low fertility.
This research uses for the first time the ONS Longitudinal Study (LS) to explore lifelong childlessness as a research topic in its own right. Using a large scale sample of women from the 1956-1960 generation who are continuously resident in England and Wales during their childbearing years, this article investigates the degree to which socio-economic characteristics of women and, where present, their partners are related to female lifelong childlessness.
The study measures the extent to which women who remained childless throughout their life course are distinctive from those who became mothers, and therefore improves our understanding of childlessness among women in England and Wales.