Desired and Achieved Fertility: Results from a Register Based Follow-up

Örjan Hemström, Statistics Sweden

Statistics Sweden investigates regularly the fertility intentions in the population. Generally, fertility intentions relate to actual child bearing, however, this association has not been investigated regarding its use in population projections. In this study, we investigated whether fertility intentions could be used to support assumptions on childbearing in population projections.

We carried out a register-based follow-up of respondents to a questionnaire survey (n=3579, women 20–­40 years old, and men 20–44 years old) conducted in the spring of 2009 regarding fertility intentions. The follow-up included all births to respondents in the period from 2009 to 2015. We used interaction analyses to describe the association between baseline fertility intentions and actual childbearing by various socio-demographic variables.

Of the women who had one or two children and wanted additional children within six years, 86 percent and 79 percent had at least one child, respectively. Among the men, the share was 79 percent and 78 percent, respectively. The share of those who had children was lower by less certain childbearing intentions. Few obvious results, besides age and parity, show any one group as being systematically more or less inclined to have children during follow-up. However, the group that had attained a post-secondary education of at least three years had a higher propensity to have children than those with an upper secondary education; this applied equally to those with one or two children.

The present follow-up provides an opportunity to use fertility intentions in population projections. However, the results are limited to relatively short-term use, which depended on the question to identify fertility intention. More structural measurement of fertility intentions could be used as an indicator to identify short-term fertility changes in the population.

Presented in Poster Session 1