On Fertility Behavior of Professional Women in China

Exploring inhibitor factor of second-child fertility behavior


  • JUN XUE Henan Normal University




professional women, fertility, fertility behavior, China, child-birth rate, health policy



The actual fertility level is lower than the policy fertility rate reflects in China. Family planning based on fertility intention has replaced national planning as an important variable affecting fertility levels. The lower than expected fertility rate reflects the existence of many inhibitory factors in family fertility decision-making. Professional women's participation in labor has become an inhibitory factor in second-child fertility behavior.


The study explores the difference in fertility behavior between professional women and non-professional women and aims to contribute to the debate on to what extent the increase in labor participation rate reduces women's fertility behavior and whether the emergence of professional women is an inhibitor of second-child fertility behavior.


The authors developed an analysis of national data from the social survey involving 10,968 records applying the Heckman model. The sample used for the study consists of 3,912 females registered in the national survey according to the formal definition of ‘professional woman’. The empirical research developed aimed at testing if the selection bias exists. That is, whether the characteristics of professional women's education, urban, income, and other factors led to differences in fertility intention and fertility behavior, applying confounding variables through propensity score matching.


It was possible to demonstrate that there is a selective effect among low-birth behaviors of professional women. However, the selective effect of fertility intention was not significant. On the other hand, labor participation reduced the fertility behavior confirming the existence of fertility dilemma. Therefore, the study indicates that it is necessary to explore how to alleviate the fertility dilemma within options of social support, family support and employment environment.

Main Contribution to Evidence-Based Practice:

The article demonstrates how the Heckman model contributes to facilitate the understanding of participation on fertility intention and fertility behavior. Additionally, it contributes to the international debate on the topic.


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How to Cite

XUE, J. (2022). On Fertility Behavior of Professional Women in China: Exploring inhibitor factor of second-child fertility behavior . International Healthcare Review (online). https://doi.org/10.56226/38



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