Family Size Preferences

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Citation: Thomson, Elizabeth Family Size Preferences.
Internet Archive Scholar (search for fulltext): Family Size Preferences
Tagged: uw-madison (RSS), wisconsin (RSS), sociology (RSS), demography (RSS), prelim (RSS), qual (RSS), WisconsinDemographyPrelimAugust2009 (RSS), fertility (RSS)


Notes: Family size preferences or desires are conceptually and empirically different from family size ideals, norms, intentions and expectations. Family size preferences or desires are the number of children wanted in one's lifetime. These preferences are unconstrained by economic or subjective factors (McClelland, 1983). PREFRENCES ARE A MEASURE OF DEMAND FOR CHILDREN. Family ideals and norms represent what is desirable for a group of people or a typical group member, rather than what is desirable for every person in the group (SOCIAL NORM). Family size intentions or expectations reflect not only family size preferences but also constraints on one's ability to achieve desired or preferred goals. Measures **fertility preferences: how many children people would like to have in their lifetime (problem is social desirability bias and rationalization of those at the end of childbearing years) or how many more children people would like to have (problem is upward bias by assuming that all previous births were wanted). Issue, spouses may have different preferences. Couple disagreement is a primary source of gaps between desires and intentions. Perception of control over fertility is also important (e.g. those who do not perceive themselves as able to control fertility may intend more children than they desire). BOTH FAMILY SIZE PREFERENCES AND INTENTIONS MAY CHANGE OVER THE LIFE COURSE and are particularly influenced by experiences with prior births. Finally, in some developing countries people give no numerical answer (Up to God).