Quotation Testa, Maria Rita, Grilli, Leonardo. 2006. The influence of childbearing regional contexts on ideal family size in Europe. . Population 61 (1-2): S. 107-137.




It is widely agreed that understanding young people’s preferences for ideal family size may shed light on future fertility levels. In the current context of low fertility across Europe, Maria Rita Testa and Leonardo Grilli look at the question in reverse. Using data from the 2001 Eurobarometer survey covering the 72 regions and 15 countries making up the European Union at that time, they reveal a strong association between young people’s reported ideal family size and the fertility behaviours observed in the previous generation. Does this reflect the transmission of family norms, or a broader social learning process? Or could this be a durable cross-generational contextual effect which, after influencing the fertility of earlier cohorts, is now shaping the preferences of young people? As the authors themselves acknowledge, their data are unable to answer these questions. But with regard to the diffusion of fertility behaviour, their results offer a significant contribution in a challenging area of research.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Population
Language English
Title The influence of childbearing regional contexts on ideal family size in Europe.
Volume 61
Number 1-2
Year 2006
Page from 107
Page to 137
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.3917/popu.601.0107


Testa, Maria Rita (Former researcher)
Grilli, Leonardo. (University of Florence, Italy)
Demography Group AB (Details)
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