Prevalence and determinants of childlessness in Russia and Moscow

Svetlana Sergeevna Biryukova, Alla Olegovna Tyndik


This paper regards the phenomenon of eventual childlessness, which remains acutely underexplored in Russia. The prevalence of childlessness in Russia is estimated on the basis of the 2002 and 2010 National Census data. The third wave of the Russian Generation and Gender Survey (GGS-Russia, 2011) and the second wave of the Moscow and its Citizens Survey (MaCS, 2013) form the basis for childlessness determinants modeling. The study demonstrates the existence of relatively broad childlessness in Russia and proves its recent growth from low to middle range. The prevalence of eventual childlessness as well as of zero child preferences appears to be significantly higher in Moscow compared to the rest of the country. In the capital city childless intentions are widespread among 40-49-year-old well-educated and well-paid individuals who are the only children in the parental family and who do not consider official marriage or having children to be prerequisites for happiness. With regard to the rest of the country, only higher age, biological infertility and absence of a partner are significant determinants of zero child preferences. Thus, in Moscow, apart from involuntary or circumstantial childlessness we may be capturing the first sprouts of voluntary childlessness, while in the rest of the country we observe only the first two types of behavior.

Svetlana SERGEEVNA BIRYUKOVA, Research, Higher School of Economics, Center for Studies of Income and Living Standards, Institute for Social Development Studies, Moscow, Russian Federation. E-mail:

Alla OLEGOVNA TYNDIK, Leading Researcher, The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Institute for Social Analysis and Prediction, Moscow, Russian Federation. E-mail:


childlessness; voluntary childlessness; fertility preferences; Russia; regression analysis

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ISSN: 2035-5556

Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54