, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 343–354

Couple childbearing desires, intentions, and births

Fertility and Contraception

DOI: 10.2307/3038288

Cite this article as:
Thomson, E. Demography (1997) 34: 343. doi:10.2307/3038288


Using new panel data from the National Surveys of Families and Households, I investigate the effects of wives’ and husbands’ childbearing desires on their spouses’ intentions, and the effects of spouses’ desires and intentions on subsequent births. The results show clearly that husbands’ desires and intentions influence couples’ births, with approximately equal force to that of wives’ desires and intentions. When couples disagreed about wanting a child, each partners’ intentions were shifted toward not having a child; and disagreement in desires or intentions were reflected in birth rates that were lower than average. These patterns were generally not different for couples with more or less traditional gender roles or attitudes.

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Center for Demography and EcologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison