This article discusses the family size utility function (FSUF), which portrays the relative strengths of preferences among family sizes, as held by an individual, couple, or group. Derivable from the FSUF are indications of motivation to seek or avoid additional children, indications which may prove useful for understanding fertility decisions and for predicting completed fertility. A method is described for assessing the FSUF with data obtainable by interview surveys, and case studies of actual FSUF’s are presented. The article concludes with theoretical and empirical questions for further investigation of the FSUF.

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