Uncertain Timing in Family Planning

Laura Bernardi, Université de Lausanne
Monika Mynarska, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University
Clementine Rossier, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

The centrality of fertility intentions, planning, and decision-making in models of fertility dynamics rests on dominant cultural schemas emphasizing the importance of fertility planning. In our paper we examine the multiple dimensions of fertility intentions and propose a typology grounded on empirical data from semi-structured interviews with women and men in reproductive ages from different European contexts. Our typology captures the centrality of two major dimensions of intentions: the desire for a child and the envisioned moment in the life course when to have one (timing). We argue that these dimensions account only partially for the observed diversity of intentions leaving little space to uncertainty. Not only level of uncertainty but also its sources should be considered if we want to predict realization of childbearing intentions accurately. We show that different types of uncertainty influence intended timing in different ways and in some cases this timing might be difficult if not impossible to establish.

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Presented in Session 181: Fertility Intentions