Measuring and Predicting Couple-Level Fertility Intentions

Bart Stykes, Bowling Green State University

Unintended fertility has been identified as a pressing social problem in the contemporary United States. Drawing on a family systems framework and prior research on childbearing desires and fertility outcomes, I assert couples should be the primary unit of analysis in discussions of unintended fertility. Accordingly, I develop a conceptual framework that discusses the importance of disagreement in couples' intentions and makes predictions about what factors might lead to said disagreement. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, I develop a research design that assesses the consistency between mothers' and fathers' reports of fathers' intentions, and predicts couple-level fertility intentions. Collectively, these analyses will allow researchers to consider the utility of using mothers' proxy reports of fathers' intentions in alternative data sources to construct couple-level indicators of intentions and provide key insights into the factors that contribute to couples' disagreement in fertility intentions.

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Presented in Session 120: Fertility Intentions: Causes and Consequences