Does Women’s Fertility Intention Predict Fertility Behavior? A Panel Study in Contemporary China

Jingyuan Xie, University of Maryland

This study exams how Chinese women’s fertility intention predicts their fertility behavior in contemporary China by using three waves of panel data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). Demographers have long been interested by the predictability of fertility intention on fertility behavior. Specific social contexts are found to have different influences on the predictability. The tremendous economic and social changes caused by China’s rapid economic development and the one-child policy together make China a unique place to study the predictability of fertility intention on fertility behavior. Using a sample of 418 married women who were 20 to 35 years in 1997 from the CHNS, I find that fertility intention can predict women’s fertility behavior in contemporary China. Women’s intention of having more than one child has a strong predictability on their future behavior of having more than one child. Furthermore, female empowerment weakens the predictability of fertility intention.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility Intentions and Behavior