Like Mother, like Daughter and Also like Mother-in-law? Influence of Older Generation’s Fertility Behaviours on Daughter’s Family Size Preferences in India

Abhishek Kumar, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Raya Muttarak, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Valeria Bordone, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

This paper investigates preferred family size of married women aged 16-34 in rural Bihar (India) given fertility behaviours of their biological mother and mother-in-law. The analysis is based on scheduled interviews of 450 pairs of index women (i.e. women central in our analysis) and their mother-in-laws. Preferred family size is measured by Coombs scale and then categorized into three categories (low, medium and high). Ordered logistic regression is employed to estimate family size preference of index women. We find no association between mother’s fertility and family size preference of index women but mother’s education does. Mother-in-law’s desired number of grandchildren is positively associated with preferred family size of index women and remains significant even after controlling for socioeconomic characteristics of index women. However, when index women have higher education than their mother-in-law, their preferred family size gets smaller. This implies that education may provide index women with greater autonomy in their decision making on childbearing.

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Presented in Session 219: Gender, Power, Sexual Health, and Family Planning