Educational Differences in Fertility Intentions: A U.S.-Japan Comparison
James Raymo, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kelly Musick, Cornell University
Miho Iwasawa, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Japan
We examine educational differences in unintended childbearing in Japan using data from a large, nationally-representative survey. Comparison with recent research on American women facilitates new insights into posited explanations for the concentration of unintended childbearing at the lower end of the educational spectrum in the U.S. Preliminary analyses indicate that the level of unintended childbearing in Japan depends upon how we treat the large number of ambiguous responses. We also find that the negative educational gradient in Japan is far less pronounced than in the U.S., reflecting the relatively low prevalence of conceptions at young ages among less-educated Japanese women and the lower levels of nonmarital conceptions. We suggest that these patterns are consistent with theoretical emphases on efficacy and on relationship uncertainty as explanations for the concentration of unintended childbearing at the lower end of the educational spectrum in the U.S.