The Discrepancy Between Ideal and Actual Parity in Hong Kong: Fertility Desire, Intention, and Behavior
The total fertility rate of Hong Kong has remained below 1.3 children per woman for about three decades, but it is still unknown whether this ultra-low fertility is driven by a downward shift in people’s fertility desires, or by low fertility intention. This study investigates the fertility desires and fertility intentions of married women via a parity-specific approach, using data from the knowledge, attitude, and practice survey conducted in 2012. The results show that the average ideal parity has shifted to sub-replacement level, indicating that the “two-child family” ideal is waning. The logistic regressions show that the determinants of low fertility intentions vary across parities: marital life satisfaction, household income, and good communication with husbands regarding childbearing are positively associated with first-birth intentions; wives’ part-time work depresses second-birth intentions; wives’ full-time work and gender inequality in the division of housework are negatively associated with third-birth intentions. It is noteworthy that fertility desire has become a strong predictor of fertility intention—especially related to first and second births, independent of other socioeconomic factors. Motivations for childbearing and difficulties in childrearing also differ across actual parities. These results should be applicable to women in other high-income Asian countries. The formulation of any pronatalist policy in Hong Kong should consider these parity-specific differences to enhance its effectiveness.
KeywordsFertility desire Fertility intention Parity-specific analysis Hong Kong
The authors are grateful for the useful suggestions of the reviewers. This study was supported by the Strategic Public Policy Research Funding Scheme of Research Grant Council (SPPR-HKU-12). The data is made available by the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong and the authors are grateful for the support of the Research Committee of the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Surveys.
- Atoh, M., Kandiah, V., & Ivanov, S. (2004). The second demographic transition in Asia? Comparative analysis of the low fertility situation in East and South-East Asian countries. The Japanese Journal of Population, 2(1), 42–75.Google Scholar
- Basten, S. (2013b). Re-Examining the fertility assumptions for Pacific Asia in the UN’s 2010 world population prospects. Oxford: University of Oxford Department of Social Policy and Intervention, Barnett Papers in Social Research.Google Scholar
- Becker, G. S. (2009). A Treatise on the Family. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Bernardi, L., Mynarska, M., & Rossier, C. (2015). Uncertain, changing and situated fertility intentions. In D. Philipov, A. C. Liefbroer, & J. Klobas (Eds.), Reproductive decision-making in a macro-micro perspective (pp. 113–139). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Blossfeld, H.-P., Klijzing, E., Mills, M., & Kurz, K. (2006). Globalization, uncertainty and youth in society: The losers in a globalizing world. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Chan, S. (2014). Planning to have a baby in Hong Kong? That’ll cost you HK$5.5 m. Retrieved October 2015, from http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1583164/planning-baby-thatll-be-hk55m.
- Chen, Y.-H. (2008). The significance of cross-border marriage in a low fertility society: evidence from Taiwan. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 39(3), 331–352.Google Scholar
- Chen, F., Liu, G., & Mair, C. A. (2011). Intergenerational ties in context: Grandparents caring for grandchildren in China. Social Forces; A Scientific Medium Of Social Study And Interpretation, 90(2), 571.Google Scholar
- Chow, N., & Lum, T. (2008). Trends in family attitudes and values in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Central Policy Unit, Hong Kong SAR Government.Google Scholar
- Cooke, L. P. (2003). The south revisited: The division of labor and family outcomes in Italy and Spain. IRISS working paper series 2003–2012. Luxembourg: IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.Google Scholar
- FPAHK. (2014). Report of youth sexuality study 2011. Available from Family Planning Association of Hong Kong Retrieved September 2016 http://www.famplan.org.hk/fpahk/en/template1.asp?style=template1.asp&content=info/research.asp.
- HKCSD. (2010). Social data collected via the general household survey: Special topics report—report No.52. Available from Hong Kong census and statistics department. Retrieved January 2016 http://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B11301522010XXXXB0100.pdf.
- HKCSD. (2012). Demographic trends in Hong Kong 1981–2011. Available from Hong Kong census and statistics department Retrieved October 2015 http://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B1120017032012XXXXB0100.pdf.
- HKCSD. (2015a). Hong Kong annual digest of statistics (2015 Edition). Available from Hong Kong census and statistics department Retrieved January 2016 http://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B10100032015AN15B0100.pdf.
- HKCSD. (2015b). Hong Kong Population projections 2015–2064. Available from Hong Kong census and statistics department Retrieved September 2015 http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp190.jsp?productCode=B1120015.
- HKCSD. (2015c). Women and men in Hong Kong—key statistics (2015 Edition). Available from Hong Kong census and statistics department Retrieved January 2016 http://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B11303032015AN15B0100.pdf.
- Jones, G. W. (2012). Late marriage and low fertility in Singapore: the limits of policy. The Japanese Journal of Population, 10(1), 89–101.Google Scholar
- Kim, E. H.-W. (2013). Fertility Intentions and Behavior in a Lowest-Low Fertility Country. Paper presented at the XXVII IUSSP International Population Conference, Busan, South Korea.Google Scholar
- Mencarini, L., & Tanturri, M. L. (2004). Time use, family role-set and childbearing among Italian working women. Genus, 60(1), 111–137.Google Scholar
- Miller, W. B. (1994). Childbearing motivations, desires, and intentions: a theoretical framework. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 120(2), 225–255.Google Scholar
- Philipov, D., & Bernardi, L. (2012). Concepts and operationalisation of reproductive decisions implementation in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Comparative Population Studies, 36(2–3), 495–530.Google Scholar
- Quah, S. R. (2015). Routledge Handbook of Families in Asia. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Straughan, P., Chan, A., & Jones, G. (2008). Ultra-low fertility in Pacific Asia: trends, causes and policy issues. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Testa, M. R. (2012). Family sizes in Europe: Evidence from the 2011 Eurobarometer survey. Vienna: Vienna Inst. of Demography.Google Scholar
- Tong, Y., Piotrowski, M., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Resistant to change? The transition to parenthood among married adults in China. Journal of Family Therapy.Google Scholar
- Yip, P., Law, C., & Cheung, K. (2008). Ultra-low fertility in Hong Kong: A review of related demographic transitions, social issues, and policies to encourage childbirth. In P. Straughan, A. Chan, & G. Jones (Eds.), Ultra-low fertility in Pacific Asia: Trends, causes and policy issues (pp. 132–159). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Yip, P., Li, B. Y., Xie, K. S., & Lam, E. (2006). An analysis of the Lowest Total Fertility Rate in Hong Kong SAR. Paper presented at the International Conference on Declining Fertility in East and Southeast Asian Countries, Tokyo.Google Scholar