“Uncertainty and Fertility Goals”
SPEAKER: Karen Guzzo (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Fertility has declined in the U.S. and other high-income countries to well below replacement level, and these declines cannot be fully explained by the sociodemographic and economic characteristics typically used in fertility research. Drawing from several theoretical frameworks, I consider how social and normative expectations of adulthood and parenthood have changed in ways that likely impact how people feel about becoming parents or their ability to adequately support additional children. This discussion highlights the need to consider subjective perceptions of well-being and uncertainty in the formation of fertility goals. Further, I consider whether individuals are perhaps less certain about fertility goals themselves. I then show preliminary results from several in-progress projects demonstrating that not only are people seemingly becoming less committed to their fertility goals but that perceptions of well-being and the future are independently linked to fertility goals, net of objective economic factors and relationship statuses.
Karen Benjamin Guzzo is Professor of Sociology and serves as the Director of the Carolina Population Center. She is a family sociologist and demographer whose work considers patterns and variation in family formation using survey data. Dr. Guzzo is an expert on trends and differentials in U.S. fertility preferences and fertility behaviors, such as delayed childbearing and childlessness, fertility intentions, nonmarital fertility, and childbearing across partnerships. Dr. Guzzo’s research has been federally funded and appears in top family and demography journals, and she serves in leadership positions for several national professional organizations and journals.
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