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Klímová Chaloupková, Jana, Hašková, Hana. 2020. „The diversity of pathways to childlessness in the Czech Republic: The union histories of childless men and women.“ Advances in Life Course Research [cit.].

Despite the fact that not having a partner is a strong predictor for remaining childless, few studies have explored the heterogeneity of partnership trajectories among childless persons. This article fills the gap in knowledge about the pathways to childlessness in Central Europe by exploring the within-group diversity of partnership trajectories among childless persons between the ages of 18 and 40 under state socialism and during the post-1989 transformation in the Czech Republic. Based on data from the Gender and Generations Survey, we identify different types of union history among childless persons using sequence analysis and optimal matching-based clustering. Moreover, we directly assess variations in partnership trajectories across gender, education, and birth cohorts by analysing sequence discrepancy and the complexity index. In both the state-socialist and post-socialist contexts the most prevalent trajectory types were ‘never partnered’ and ‘long-term partnerships’, with only a small proportion of unstable partnership trajectories. Childless women experience more diverse and complex trajectories than childless men and their partnership trajectories vary more pronouncedly across educational groups than those of men. In contrast, cohort differences are more pronounced among childless men. We discuss the findings against the backdrop of the transition from a state-socialist to a post-socialist welfare state. The findings thus contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the social and historical embeddedness of pathways to childlessness and show how the links between gender, education, and family life-courses are context-specific.

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