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Uncertainty in fertility intentions in Britain, 1979-2007

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  • Máire Ní Bhrolcháin
  • Éva Beaujouan
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    Abstract

    The paper uses a time series of repeated rounds of the General Household Survey in Great Britain to study uncertainty in fertility intentions. We show that a substantial minority of women are uncertain in their expectations about future childbearing. A comparison of reported uncertainty in GHS rounds 1979-1990 with 1991-2007 reveals that the estimated level of uncertainty is influenced by question format. At the individual level, uncertainty varies largely with demographic status and life stage-age, partnership status, parity and time since previous birth. Evidence from qualitative and quantitative studies, particularly in relation to pregnancy intentions, reinforces the reality of uncertainty about reproductive prospects. We suggest that the measurement of fertility intentions needs improvement. A new theoretical approach to fertility intentions is outlined in brief.

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    File URL: http://epub.oeaw.ac.at/0xc1aa500d_0x002a70f6
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna in its journal Vienna Yearbook of Population Research.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 99-129

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    Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:9:y:2011:i:1:p:99-129

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    Web page: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/vid/

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    1. Adeline Delavande, 2005. "Measuring Revisions to Subjective Expectations," 2005 Meeting Papers 682, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Morgan, S. Philip & Chen, Renbao, 1992. "Predicting childlessness for recent cohorts of American women," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 477-493, November.
    3. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
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    5. S. Morgan, 1985. "Individual and couple intentions for more children: A research note," Demography, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 125-132, February.
    6. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    7. Kellie J. Hagewen & S. Philip Morgan, 2005. "Intended and Ideal Family Size in the United States, 1970-2002," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(3), pages 507-527.
    8. Christine A. Bachrach & Philip S. Morgan, 2011. "DEMOGRAPHIC DEBATE - Is the Theory of Planned Behaviour an appropriate model for human fertility?," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 11-18.
    9. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, May.
    10. Cartwright, Ann, 1988. "Unintended pregnancies that lead to babies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 249-254, January.
    11. John Bongaarts, 2002. "The End of the Fertility Transition in the Developed World," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(3), pages 419-443.
    12. Kendall, Carl & Afable-Munsuz, Aimee & Speizer, Ilene & Avery, Alexis & Schmidt, Norine & Santelli, John, 2005. "Understanding pregnancy in a population of inner-city women in New Orleans--results of qualitative research," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 297-311, January.
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