Couple Childbearing Desires, Intentions and Births

Elizabeth Thomson


New panel data from the National Surveys of Families and Households are used to investigate effects of wives' and husbands' childbearing desires on their partners' intentions, and the effects of couples' desires and intentions on subsequent births. The results show clearly that husbands' desires and intentions influence couples' births, with approximately equal force to that of wives' desires and intentions. When couples disagreed about wanting a child, each partners' intentions were shifted toward not having a child; and disagreement in desires or intentions were reflected in lower than average birth risks. These patterns were generally not different for couples with more or less traditional gender roles or attitudes. couple's gender roles or attitudes.