Consistency of Ideal Family Size within Cohorts across Surveys in DHS and Predicting Fertility Changes

Bruno D. Schoumaker, Université Catholique de Louvain

Consistency of fertility preferences at the individual-level over time and the predictive power of individual fertility preferences on fertility have been studied in a variety of settings. Analyses of consistency of fertility preferences within cohorts (at the aggregate level) are less common; despite its importance for projecting fertility, little work exists on the links between changes in fertility preferences and fertility at the aggregate level in developing countries. In this paper, we use DHS data to investigate consistency of fertility preferences within cohorts, and how changes in fertility preferences across cohorts can be used to help understand and forecast fertility. Preliminary results indicate very good consistency of ideal family size within cohorts; as a result, consistent trends in ideal family size can be reconstructed. Comparisons of trends in ideal family size and period fertility may be a useful tool for interpreting fertility changes and for projecting short term fertility trends.

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Presented in Session 164: Fertility Intentions: Measurement and Meaning