, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 587–611

The measurement of family size preferences and subsequent fertility

  • Lolagene C. Coombs

DOI: 10.2307/2060472

Cite this article as:
Coombs, L.C. Demography (1974) 11: 587. doi:10.2307/2060472


A new method for measuring preferences for number of children is presented and related to the subsequent fertility of a panel of married women over a five-year period. TheI-scales, developed on the basis of unfolding theory, reflect the individual’s utility function for children. They differ from global stated preferences and are more fine-grained measures, sensitive to variations from a first choice. Scales obtained at an initial interview were found to be consistently predictive of fertility in the prospective period, net of a number of other variables usually associated with differential fertility. Their potential both as independent and dependent variables in research is discussed.

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lolagene C. Coombs
    • 1
  1. 1.Population Studies CenterUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor