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  • Influence of Own Sibship Size on the Number of Children Desired at Various Times of Life.The Case of France - A. Régnier-Loilier

Recent Demographic Trends in the Developed Countries

  • Recent Demographic Trends in Europe and the Other Developed Countries - J.-P. Sardon
  • Fertility in the Developed English-Speaking Countries outside Europe: Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand - J.-P. Sardon

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  • Investigation of a Unit Non-Response Adjustment Procedure: The Case of the Urban Fertility Survey, Italy, 2001-2002 - A. Giraldo G. Dalla Zuanna

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Influence of Own Sibship Size on Number of Children Desired at Various Times of Life. The Case of France
Arnaud Régnier-Loilier

This article examines the factors that influence the formation and development of fertility plans over a lifetime. In particular, the hypothesis is made that the desired number of children a person states reflects their experience of family life. On the basis of data from the Intentions de fécondité survey carried out by INED and INSEE in France in 1998, and qualitative interviews with young parents, it is observed that people who have not yet had a child form their plans in terms of the only family references they have, namely their own childhood and notably their own sibship size (the more brothers and sisters they had, the more children they want, on average), but this effect is not found among the parents of one or two children. The experience of having a first child brings home the practical implications of parenthood (increasing difficulties in reconciling family and job, for example), and so the desired number of children corresponds to a different way of thinking. However, the results of the EHF family history study (INSEE 1999) show that own sibship size does ultimately have an effect on completed fertility, which casts some doubt on the validity of questions about intentions.

Recent Demographic Trends in Developed Countries
J-P Sardon

The relative overall stability of the population of continental Europe is accounted for by population growth in western Europe alone, mainly from immigration. Central Europe has negative natural increase, with net migration being positive only in Russia. This contrasts with the United States, where natural increase and net migration are substantially positive. The total fertility rate in the 15-member EU, driven chiefly by the older members, has risen slightly since 2002 and now stands at 1.55 children per woman, 0.5 children below the United States. Fertility trends and levels present quite contrasting pictures across the whole of the continent, with TFRs ranging from 1.20 in Belarus to 2.04 in Iceland. Fertility in central and eastern Europe had fallen to very low levels, but the decline now seems to have abated in many countries. Rates have broadly stabilized in western Europe, apart from Scandinavia where they have risen significantly. Women’s completed fertility is continuing to decrease almost everywhere, apart from the United States. This reduction in completed fertility is accompanied by an increase in permanent infertility. The mean length of life continues to increase in almost all European countries, although the countries of the former Soviet Union have still not returned to their 1960s levels. While female life expectancy at birth is among the highest in the world in some western European countries (Spain, Switzerland and France), it is still almost 2 years lower than in Japan.

Fertility in the
Developed English-Speaking Countries outside Europe: Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand
J-P Sardon

The fertility of the English-speaking populations of North America and Oceania has, it would seem, always been higher than that of Europe, despite the absence of any policy of direct intervention in family matters. However, in recent decades the gap has tended to close and these countries are now at the level of the most fertile European ones.
In these countries, as in Europe, the period after the Second World War saw a baby boom followed by a decline in fertility. Their baby boom was more marked and earlier than the European one. It peaked in 1957 in the United States, 1959 in Canada, and 1961 in Australia and New Zealand.
The postponement of births to later ages took a particular path in the United States. After the baby boom, the fertility of young American women quickly reverted to its earlier level and has remained fairly stable since. Conversely, in other countries, fertility rates have pursued their decline due to the ongoing trend towards delayed childbearing. Consequently, in most countries, the rise in fertility after the age of 30 as older women start to found a family has at most compensated for the decline before that age. In the United States, this rise, due mainly to higher cohort fertility, has pushed up the total fertility rate.
Within this group of countries, Canada is distinguished by relatively low fertility. The total fertility rate has stabilized in recent years at 1.5 children per woman, a figure close to that of the European Union as a whole.

Investigation of a Unit Non-Response Adjustment Procedure: The Case of the Urban Fertility Survey, Italy, 2001-2002

Anna Giraldo and Gianpiero Dalla-Zuanna

The aim of this paper is to discuss and try to address the unit non-response selection problem in the case of a population of interest composed of mothers. A two-stage procedure is used. In the first stage, a short self-compiled questionnaire is administered to a sample of students aged 13. They are then asked to hand to their mothers a more complex questionnaire to be filled in an brought back to school. By linking the two questionnaires, we manage to solve non-response selection problems by means of the same statistical techniques used to control attrition in panel surveys. This type of data collection procedure is recommended for the following reasons: (i) the proportion of unit non-response in standard surveys is sometimes very high, and this can lead to a non-response selection bias which is not easy to control; (ii) the cost of this procedure is very low. This technique was applied to the Urban Fertility Survey (UFS) conducted in 2001-02 in four Italian cities.

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