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Ariane Kemkes-Grottenthaler (2004)

Determinants of Desired Number of Children among Young University Attendents – A Pilot Study with Explorative Character*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 29, 2/2004, p. 193-217, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398

For future University graduates – who have one of the longest periods of educational qualification – forming a family involves a decisive break in their scheme of life. Employing a standardized questionnaire, 404 university students between the ages of 18 to 29 years (197 men, 207 women) were questioned about their fertility goals. Following the Leipzig Questionnaire on Motives for Desiring to Have Children, four scales were integrated: "search for emotional stability and meaning of life", "personal limitations and problems", "social acceptance and identity" and "inadequate material and social support". The survey showed that three groups can be readily distinguished, those who desire to have children (74.5 %), those who prefer to remain childless (7.7 %) and those, who are undecided (17.8 %). While these results reflect that the majority of the respondents place great value in having children, it can be shown that various determinants influence the intensity and specificity of wanting to have offspring. Women and younger respondents generally expressed more interest in having children. In addition, the family of orientation as well as parental role models influenced the desire to have children. Overall, students who preferred to remain childless seemed to be more independent than the other groups. Those, who are undecided, on the other hand, seemed to be primarily characterized by future pessimism.

* Original title: Determinanten des Kinderwunsches bei jungen Studierenden – Eine Pilotstudie mit explorativem Charakter (full text in German only)

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