Sibling Loss and Fertility Ideals in a High Mortality Context

Kathleen Broussard , University of Texas at Austin
Abigail Weitzman, University of Michigan

Numerous studies document the relationship between child mortality and fertility, yet demographers know little about the implications of alternative mortality exposures. In this study, we examine how women’s fertility ideals are influenced by the death of a sibling. Using nationally representative data from the high-mortality context of Peru, we examine whether women’s desire for any children and their ideal number of children overall vary as a function of sibling loss. We find that women who have lost a sibling are more likely to desire children. Sibling loss is not associated, however, with the overall ideal number of children among those who desire at least one. Together, these findings demonstrate that women’s fertility ideals are sensitive to the loss of siblings, as well as the conditions of such losses, and highlight the importance of expanding beyond child mortality to investigate the reproductive implications of a broader range of familial mortality exposures.

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 Presented in Session 10. Fertility, Family Planning, Sexual Behavior & Reproductive Health 2