Ideal family size measured by an adapted Coombs scale – first findings from a Czech survey

Ladislav Rabusic, Masaryk University
Beatrice Chromková Manea, Masaryk University

In light of the ongoing very low levels of fertility and population ageing in the developed countries, many studies focus on measuring fertility preferences, ideals, desires and final outcomes. Many researchers point to and discuss the gap between fertility ideals and outcomes (so called fertility gap). Previous studies on Czech population suggest that the low fertility trap hypothesis could be justified even in the Czech environment (see Rabušic and Chromková Manea, 2013). If the ideal family size is correlated with the actual number of children, then given the long term very low fertility level (it has been less than 1.5 since 1994), the new generations of Czechs grow in an environment, where the norm (standard) is a family with a small number of children. The mismatch between the desired fertility ideal and realized one could be also caused by the way how we measure ideals and preferences. Hin and colleagues (Hin et al. 2011) argue that the ‘two children’ might be an expression of indecision or ‘I don’t know’ answer. The goal of this contribution is to explore ideal family size of the adult Czech population by use of an adapted measurement for it. We will use a more elaborated method for measuring the ideal number of children than the ones usually included in surveys. We assume that by using subsequence options for the ideal number of children, we can bring new evidence in understanding the low levels of fertility in the Czech Republic. We work with the following research questions: 1) How do Czech respondents state their subsequent fertility ideals? 2) What are the main socio-demographic determinants of the ideal family sizes? and 3) Is this methodological tool appropriate to be used when measuring fertility ideals in the Czech Republic?

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session 3