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Uncertainty in fertility intentions in Britain, 1979-2007

  • Máire Ní Bhrolcháin
  • Éva Beaujouan
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    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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    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
    Contact details of provider: 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. Dylan Kneale & Heather Joshi, 2008. "Postponement and childlessness - Evidence from two British cohorts," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(58), pages 1935-1968, November.
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    4. 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.
    5. 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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    13. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, December.
    14. Laurent Toulemon & Maria Rita Testa, 2006. "Family Formation in France: Individual Preferences and Subsequent Outcomes," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 4(1), pages 41-75.
    15. Ronald Freedman & Deborah Freedman & Arland Thornton, 1980. "Changes in fertility expectations and preferences between 1962 and 1977: Their relation to final parity," Demography, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 365-378, November.
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    17. Elizabeth Thomson, 1997. "Couple childbearing desires, intentions, and births," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 343-354, August.
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