This article describes a measure that can be evaluated for a particular individual person, household, or family. It is not a statistical aggregate, though it may be statistically aggregated to provide average measures and distributions.
The measure is subjective, as the measurement of its value is based on people's beliefs, opinions, and/or values.
Ideal fertility (also referred to by the related term ideal family size) refers to the number of children a person considers should be present in an ideal family. Note that ideal conditions here presuppose that the children will survive to adulthood, since children dying off at a young age would not be ideal.
Ideal fertility is not a directly measured value, but rather, individuals are polled about their estimate of ideal fertility, and the values thus obtained are studied (by taking averages or considering the distribution of values).
The term ideal family size is sometimes used synonymously with ideal fertility, reflecting the fact that the number of children is the key variable in family size. Note, however, that technically, family size would include a count of the adults in the family too. Therefore, one should understand from context whether the measure reported is fertility or family size.
- Family Sizes in Europe: Evidence from the 2011 Eurobarometer Survey by Maria Rita Testa, : Ungated PDFMore info
- Intended and Ideal Family Sizes in the United States, 1970-2002 by Kellie J. Hagewen and S. Philip Morgan, Population and Development Review, Volume 31,Number 3, Page 507 - 527(September 2005): Full text on NIH websiteMore info
- Evidence bearing on the construct validity of "ideal family size" by Roger B. Trent, Population and Environment, Volume 3, (Fall/Winter 1980): JSTOR PDFMore info
- Attitudes towards ideal family size of different ethnic/nationality groups in Great Britain, France, and Germany by Roger Penn and Paul Lambert, Population Trends, Volume 108, (Summer 2002): ungated PDFMore info
- The emergence of sub-replacement family size ideals in Europe by Joshua Goldstein, Wolfgang Lutz and Maria Rita Testa, Population Research and Policy Review, Volume 22, Page 479 - 496(Year 2003): Gated PDFMore info
- Desired Fertility and the Impact of Population Policies by Lant Pritchett, Population and Development Review, Volume 20,Number 1, Page 1 - 55(March 1994): Ungated PDFMore info