Variation in Achieved and Intended Fertility and Demographic Scenarios for Future Fertility

Alison Gemmill , Stony Brook University, State University of New York (SUNY)

Despite recent declines in the U.S. fertility rate, data from the 2015-17 National Survey of Family Growth reveal that the number of children women expect to have remains higher, at 2.1 to 2.6 children. This finding, therefore, suggests that part of the decline in total fertility may be transitional, as women shift to having children later in their lives. Moreover, fertility rates adjusted for changes in the timing of childbearing do not exhibit the decline observed in unadjusted fertility rates. Nevertheless, there is some cause for concern. Non-religious women, a growing proportion of the population, expect to have just 1.9 children, and intended family size appears to be falling for nearly all population segments. Moreover, women tend have about 0.3 fewer children than they expect, and college-educated women, who delay childbearing longest, may fall even further short of their expectations.

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 Presented in Session 210. Flash Session: Recent Trends in Fertility and Contraception in the United States