Objective: This study used factorial survey data from five countries to assess the factors that shape young adults' attitudes toward the ideal number of children for described couples. Background: Continuously low fertility rates in many Asian and European countries generate an interest in understanding the fertility attitudes of young adults—and the implications for family policies. Method: The causal impact of socioeconomic and cultural factors on the ideal number of children for couples described in the vignettes was tested using a factorial survey experiment (vignette analysis). Data were collected from Germany, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to represent five different contexts each with different economies, political regimes, cultural and religious backgrounds, and population structures. Seven vignette-level and four respondent-level factors were assumed to affect the conditional ideal number of children. Results: The strongest predictors of the higher ideal number of children for couples described in the vignettes were income, availability of childcare, and husband's full employment. The highest average ideal number of children for described couples was observed in the UAE (2.8 children), followed by Germany (1.6 children), Ukraine and Russia (1.3 children), and Japan (1.2 children). Conclusion: The existing gap between public attitudes and fertility behaviors could be addressed by child-friendly policies which allow a better reconciliation of work and family life.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)