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Title: Ideal and Actual Intervals to First Birth in Singapore
Authors: Poh Lin Tan 
Keywords: fertility
first birth
birth interval
Issue Date: 2021
Citation: Poh Lin Tan (2021). Ideal and Actual Intervals to First Birth in Singapore. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Postponement of first births is a key cause of declining fertility rates, especially in East Asia where recovery from delayed childbearing among women in their 20s has been weak. This paper investigates achievement of ideal ages at marriage and first birth in Singapore using survey data on 657 married women aged 25-34. Almost 50% marry within one year of their ideal age, but less than 30% have their first child within six months of their ideal interval to first birth, with around 50% waiting longer than ideal. The high proportion of women experiencing a longer-than-ideal first birth interval was observed across all age and educational groups. Regression results show that co-residence with a foreign domestic worker and paid leave entitlements are associated with higher probability of achieving their ideal first birth interval, whereas availability of parents/in-laws, husband’s help with chores and unpaid leave do not significantly reduce time to childbearing.
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