Discussion Paper no. 07-01


In the context of low fertility and a high proportion of persons who are not living in marital unions, it is important to study the attitudes toward having children outside of marriage. Based on a sample from Oxford and Middlesex counties in Ontario, Canada, we find that there are more positive attitudes toward having children outside of marriage for persons who have a more liberal orientation to gender division of labour and to cohabitation, those who are less religious, have smaller ideal family size, and where the first relationship was a cohabiting union. While the relation was not significant, there were also more positive attitudes toward non-marital childbearing for respondents whose parents experienced cohabitation or marital dissolution. The effect of having full-time employment differed by gender: women who had full-time employment were more likely to favour non-marital childbearing, but the opposite holds for men.