Abstract

Changing fertility expectations and preferences from 1962 to 1977 are compared with final parity in a longitudinal study. Results are strongly affected by initial parity in 1962. Final parity, 27 percent below expectations for those initially childless, illustrates the effect for couples free to change expectations downward of declining fertility preferences. Changes in expectations early in marriage had a significant long-term effect on final parity, as did early differences between wife’s expectations and husband’s preferences. Unplanned births increased final parity significantly. Religion, education, and income had no systematic relation to the discrepancy between initial expectations and final parity.

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