Population and Environment

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 113–138 | Cite as

Motivational and nonmotivational determinants of child-number desires

  • Warren B. Miller
  • David J. Pasta


The number of children desired by individuals—often referred to as family size desires or preferences—is a central construct in much research designed to understand and predict fertility. It is often used as a proxy for the construct of childbearing motivation. This paper presents a theoretical framework that organizes and elucidates the relationship between these two constructs. That relationship is examined using a reliable, valid measure of childbearing motivation and data from 195 husbands and 196 wives with no children and 196 husbands and 196 wives with one child. The results indicate that childbearing motivation has a complex relationship with child-number desires, characterized by curvilinearity and a failure to distinguish among those desiring more than two children. We discuss the implications of this pattern.


Family Size Complex Relationship Valid Measure Family Size Desire Central Construct 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warren B. Miller
    • 1
  • David J. Pasta
    • 2
  1. 1.Transnational Family Research InstituteUSA
  2. 2.DMA CorporationUSA

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