Desired Fertility and Educational Aspirations: Adolescent Goals in a Context of Rapid Social Change

Melissa Alcaraz , The Ohio State University
Sarah R. Hayford, The Ohio State University
Jennifer Glick, Pennsylvania State University

Adolescent preferences for life course outcomes predict future behavior, but also reflect current assessments of what outcomes are possible and desirable. In particular, adolescent goals for work, family, and work-family balance can be an indicator of gender norms and institutional structures. This paper analyzes the relationship between desired educational attainment and desired family size in rural Jalisco Province, Mexico, a context where rapid educational expansion and fertility decline have dramatically altered the scope of possible life outcomes, especially for girls, but where family roles remain strongly gendered. Preliminary results controlling for individual and family characteristics show that higher educational aspirations are associated with lower desired family size, but only for girls. For boys, more egalitarian gender attitudes predict lower desired family size. The completed paper will refine measures of family structure and context; test for additional moderators; and consider possible mutual dependence between these measures.

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 Presented in Session 37. Gender Inequality Over Place and Time