The postponement of fertility has motivated research on the causes of later childbearing as well as on the consequences, particularly on child well-being. The medical literature – which has primarily focused on the reproductive ageing process associated with advanced parental age – presents advanced maternal or paternal age as a risk factor for child health. In contrast, the social scientific literature – which has primarily focused on the social aspects associated with advanced age – suggests that childbearing postponement can result in positive effects for children as older parents may have socioeconomic advantages that are transmitted to the children.
My presentation consolidates the two perspectives and documents how it would be misleading to talk about “the effect” of parental age on child outcomes as the effect varies strongly across time and place. I will further analyze what type of contextual factors are important in understanding the heterogeneity in the impact of parenthood postponement on child outcomes.