ESRI Discussion Paper Series No.301
Analyses of factors relating to couples' declining number of children and desire for children: Empirical Evidence from Survey Data.

Masahiro Yamada
Professor, Faculty of Letters, Chuo University
Shigeki Matsuda
Professor, Faculty of Contemporary Sociology, Chukyo University
Liping Shi
Professor, School of Information and Communication, Meiji University
Natsuki Nagata
Associate Professor, Hyogo University of Teacher Education
Junko Uchino
Former Executive Research Fellow, Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
Aki Iijima
Research Fellow, Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office

Abstract

This paper examines the factors that lie behind the couples' declining number of children and desire for children, associating among living environment, economic situation, and husband and wife’s consciousness and sense of value. Data for this paper was compiled through a web-based questionnaire survey with married male and female aged from 20 to 49, conducted in October and November 2012.

In chapter 1, we describe the survey, including the purpose, method, and basic statistics.

In chapter 2, we describe results from five different approaches to analyses of factors relating to couples' number of children and desire for children. The main points of our results are as follows;

1)although we find that in case when husband shares less part in child care both wife and husband's desire for the third child tend to decline, emotional support has more effect on the desire for the second child than husband's participation for child care. Moreover, couples who share more activities or who have common hobbies tend to have more desire for additional child/children.

2) the survey gives a typical image of couples with pregnancy-preceding-marriage, who work and get married after dating for 2-4 years in their twenties, and they have more desire for additional child/children. Additionally, people with traditional family norm show more tendencies to have one or two children. However, traditional family norm does not effect on the third child as much. Furthermore, those who live with or near their parents have more children as well as they desire and idealize to have more.

3) for lower income couples, the burden of expenditure to raise a child/children results in less children, whereas for middle income couples, educational aspiration that they want their child/children to go to higher education or to study abroad shows the same effects.

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