Ideální věk rodičovství v České republice a v evropském srovnání
IDEAL AGE FOR CHLDBIRTH IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND IN EUROPEAN COMPARISON
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In this paper a comparison is made between the Czech Republic and other European countries regarding attitudes toward the ideal timing for childbirth. In 1990s there was a sharp increase in the postponement of the transition to parenthood in the Czech Republic. This development raises the question: Are normative beliefs in the Czech Republic regarding the timing of childbirth changing, and if so, are they becoming similar to the attitudes present in Western Europe? After a brief outline of the concept of age norms, beliefs regarding the ideal age of when to become a parent in European countries are explored using data from the European Social Survey 2006. In the final part of this paper there is a detailed analysis of Czech attitudes toward the ideal timing of the birth of the first child, using CVVM survey data from 2006, with a specific focus on cohort and educational differences. This research reveals that Czech attitudes toward the ideal age for mothers having a first child is intermediate between the patterns observed in (a) East European countries where the ideal is for a younger age, and (b) West European states where an older age preference is prevalent. In contrast, the ideal age for becoming a father for the first time in the Czech Republic is one of the oldest in Europe. Significantly, the proportion of the population that rejects age norms for reproduction exhibits little systematic pattern across Europe. Within the Czech Republic the survey evidence indicates that those who are less than 35 years old, and those who are most educated have a significantly older ideal age for having a first child than all others.
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