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Changing Gender Roles and Attitudes to Family Formation in Ireland$
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Margret Fine-Davis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096969

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096969.001.0001

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Attitudes to having children and childlessness

Attitudes to having children and childlessness

(p.95) 5 Attitudes to having children and childlessness
Changing Gender Roles and Attitudes to Family Formation in Ireland

Margret Fine-Davis

Manchester University Press

While the current Irish birth rate is still high by European standards, at approximately two children per woman, the total fertility rate has nevertheless fallen 50% over the last four decades from approximately four children per woman in 1970 to two children today. This chapter discusses the causes, significance and implications of this and presents results of new measures developed to explore current attitudes to childbearing. Four distinct dimensions emerged through factor analysis, including a Belief in the Necessity of having Children for Fulfilment, Perceived Economic Constraints to having Children, Belief in the Value of Smaller Families, and the Belief that Men want Children as much as Women do. The prevalence of these attitudes in the representative sample is presented as well as differences among groups. Respondents’ ideal, expected and actual family size, as well as discrepancies between these, are also explored.

Keywords:   Attitudes to Having Children, Attitudes to Childlessness, Fertility, Ideal Family Size, Expected Family Size

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