The emergence of sub-replacement family size ideals in Europe

Maria Rita Testa

    Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


    Period fertility started to drop significantly below replacement in most Western European countries during the 1970s and 1980s, while most fertility surveys, value studies and opinion polls have found that the number of children considered ideal for society or for one's own family has remained above two children per woman. These surveys have led to the expectation that, sooner or later, period fertility would recover in Europe. The most recent data from the Eurobarometer 2001 survey, however, suggest that in the German-speaking parts of Europe the average ideal family sizes given by younger men and women have fallen as low as 1.7 children. This paper examines the consistency and the credibility of these new findings, which – if they are indeed indications of a new trend – may alter the current discussion about future fertility trends in Europe.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)479 - 496
    JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
    Issue number5-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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