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Socioeconomic determinants of rural women's desired fertility: A survey in rural Shaanxi, China

Wei, Jieqiong, Xue, Jianhong and Wang, Duolao ORCID: (2018) 'Socioeconomic determinants of rural women's desired fertility: A survey in rural Shaanxi, China'. PLoS ONE, Vol 13, Issue 9, e0202968.

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There has been evidence demonstrating that China has had a persistently low and below-replacement level fertility since early 1990s, causing concerns of a rapidly aging population and sustainability of the Chinese economy. To avoid adverse effects of excessively low fertility, the Chinese government has recently changed its family planning policy from "one-child policy" to "two-child policy." Nonetheless, the effectiveness of the newly initiated two-child policy is questionable if women's average desired number of children or desired fertility for their lifetime is below the threshold fertility allowed by the two-child policy. Therefore, this study argues that it would be interesting and pertinent to know women's fertility desires under the circumstances of no policy restrictions and understand major factors that may affect their desired fertility. Based on a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling survey with 2,516 women respondents in rural Shaanxi, this study tries to estimate desired fertility of rural women and evaluate the impact of important socioeconomic factors on their desired fertility. The results of this study reveal that the average lifetime desired fertility for rural women of childbearing age in Shaanxi is about 1.71, below the total fertility rate at the replacement level. The findings of this study suggest that women's marriage age, the pecuniary costs of having children, women's income forgone for having children, and social security benefits available for rural residents at retirement age, are significantly and negatively related to desired fertility. However, rural women's cultural views towards fertility are significantly but positively related to their desired fertility. This study further confirms that China has entered an era of low fertility, and thus, any policy restrictions on fertility may no longer be necessary. Instead, government programs which support childbearing and childrearing are needed to prevent excessive low fertility and rapid aging of the population.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 309 Women's health
WP Gynecology > WP 20 Research (General)
WQ Obstetrics > WQ 20 Research (General)
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2018 10:14
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2019 15:27


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