Fertility preferences: what measuring second choices teaches us
This article aims to strengthen the research methodology for studies of fertility preferences. Knowledge of personal fertility ideals is important both for demographers and policy makers, but the measurement techniques currently employed are not very refined. We suggest that the information provided by asking people about their personal ideal number of offspring can be improved in quality when asking them to also consider alternative preferences. The results of a survey conducted in the Netherlands demonstrate how measuring second (and, if desired, further) choices improves our ability to differentiate between different population subgroups. Moreover, it brings to light individuals' openness to their `second best ideals'. Including questions on alternative ideals in surveys thus enhances the qualitative potential of studies on fertility ideals and adds a new dimension to research on the how and why of fertility gaps between desired and achieved fertility.
Volume (Year): 9 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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- Ian Dey & Fran Wasoff, 2010. "Another Child? Fertility Ideals, Resources and Opportunities," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 29(6), pages 921-940, December.
- Lolagene Coombs, 1979. "Reproductive goals and achieved fertility: A fifteen-year perspective," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 16(4), pages 523-534, November.
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- John Knodel & Visid Prachuabmoh, 1973. "Desired family size in Thailand: Are the responses meaningful?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 10(4), pages 619-637, November.
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