Fertility intentions and actual fertility : a complex relationship

Population and Societies

415, September 2005

People are regularly asked in sample surveys whether they wish to have children in the future. Can we rely on their answers to predict birth rates in the years to come? Why, in some cases, do their wishes not come true? Because they misjudged the direction their life would take? Because unforeseen problems, such as the death of a partner, divorce or unemployment, obliged them to postpone or even abandon their fertility projects? Laurent Toulemon and Maria Rita Testa present the results of the latest French survey on this topic.

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