Volume 27, Issue 3

Does the Wantedness of a Pregnancy Predict a Child's Educational Attainment?

An analysis of the educational attainment of more than 10,000 members of the 1966 cohort of births in Northern Finland found that 25% of the young men born following an unwanted pregnancy failed to attain any more education than the nine years of compulsory schooling, compared with 18% of those born as a result of a mistimed pregnancy and 14% from a wanted one. The comparable proportions for women in the cohort were 19%, 13% and 9%, respectively. A binary regression analysis that controlled for family background variables indicates that unwantedness increased the risk that men would not go on to upper secondary school by 6.0 percentage points and that women would not by 6.3 percentage points. The statistical interaction between large family size and unwantedness showed an increased risk of low educational attainment among the young men; neither large family size nor other family background variables could explain the association between unwantedness at birth and comparatively little schooling among the women.

(Family Planning Perspectives, 27:116-119, 1995)

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