marries some years after the birth of the first child. As can be seen from figure 5, the proportion of women and men having children has decreased in all age categories.
Figure 5. Having children by age, gender and year.
Source: The surveys of standard of living 1980, 1983, 1987 and 1991.
However, these proportions have not decreased as much as the proportions of those who are married or cohabiting. The convergence between the percentage living together and the percentage having children may indicate that the first child constitutes a more commited relationship.
Although, as shown, gender differences remain significant, as shown, young people’s domestic careers may be increasingly less gender specific than some years ago. Many more women are catching up with the men’s educational attainments, and a growing proportion of them are beginning to take full-time work. Birth of the first child often leads to a break in employment, but many women return to full-time work after their maternity leave. Men’s occupational career have traditionally been unbroken by childbirth, but the introduction of fathers’ rights to share post-parturition leave with mothers may change the pattern somewhat.