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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

Social Statistics academics presented their study in Vienna

Published: 3 January 2011 Origin:  Social Statistics and Demography

Professor Maire Ni Bhrolchain and Dr Eva Beaujouan took their work on uncertainty in fertility intentions to a conference in Vienna in December.

The conference, 'From Intentions to Behaviour: Reproductive Decision-Making in a Macro-Micro Perspective ' was organised by the Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences which is coordinator of the REPRO project ("Reproductive decision-making in a macro-micro perspective"), funded within the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission. The REPRO project is investigating the relationship between reproductive decision-making, childbearing behaviour, and fertility trends. The conference brought together people working in this area from both Europe and the United States.

On their research using data from the General Household Survey (GHS) the authors comment that "Our study is a follow-up to work carried out with Dr Ann Berrington that was published in Population Trends 141 which finds that a substantial minority of women are uncertain in their fertility intentions. We show that the GHS is not unique in this respect, but that substantial levels of uncertainty have been reported in a wide range of comparable surveys in other countries, over several decades. The study of uncertainty in fertility intentions in its own right was pioneered by Professor Philip Morgan, who noted that it is inherent to the process of family formation. Recent evidence from qualitative studies of pregnancy intentions adds to the picture of substantial ambiguity surrounding fertility behaviour. We suggest that uncertainty is reasonable, both in principle and on statistical grounds. In our view, both concepts and measures of fertility intentions and preferences need to be refined and developed further."

For the slides from Prof. Ni Bhrolchain and Dr. Beaujouan's presentation in Vienna please see the REPRO website here .

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