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Stud Fam Plann. 1994 Jul-Aug;25(4):222-31.

Do fertility intentions predict subsequent behavior? Evidence from Peninsular Malaysia.

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1
Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur.

Abstract

Data from the 1984 Malaysian Population and Family Survey were matched with birth registration records for 1985-87 to determine the accuracy of statements regarding desired family size that were reported in a household survey in predicting subsequent reproductive behavior. The findings of this study were that stated fertility intention provides fairly accurate forecasts of fertility behavior in the subsequent period. In other words, whether a woman has another child is predicted closely by whether she wanted an additional child. Informational, educational, and motivational activities of family planning programs would, therefore, have greater success in reducing family size if fertility intentions were taken into account.

PIP:

The findings of this study of the predictability of family size from intentions reveal that joint fertility decisions had the best predictive power for subsequent fertility behavior and that predictive power increased with increasing age. Families with three or children were more likely to have an additional child, for instance. Prospective data from the 1984 Malaysian Population and Family Survey were matched with birth registration records for 1985-87 through personal identification numbers. Family size desires were grouped as both partners wanting no more children, both partners wanting more children, one partner wanting more children and one not, and one or both partners with uncertainty. The results showed that 87% had joint fertility desires in 1984. Of those jointly desiring another child, 52-54% had another child in the following three years. 93% of those desiring no more children and using contraception had no more children in the subsequent three years. Those desiring no more children and not using contraception included 21% with another child in the subsequent three years. 27% of the 64% using contraception prior to the survey and wanting no more children went on to have another child. 59% of those desiring children had a live birth by 1987, while 50% of those desiring children and using contraception had a birth by 1987. Ethnic Malays were twice as likely as Chinese or Indians to desire another child. Malays were more likely to have a subsequent birth. Desire for more children was greater in rural areas, among educated women, and among women who worked away from home. At-home mothers were the most likely to desire more children. The likelihood of contraceptive use was greater when both partners did not want more children. Fertility intentions were affected by the length of the open birth interval. There was a U-shaped relationship between fertility intention and income. Multivariate results confirmed that fertility intention was statistically significant in explaining future births with controls for life cycle variables, background factors, and contraceptive use.

PMID:
7985216
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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