How many children would you like to have?

ICMH Newsl. 1983 Nov;14(166):1, 4.


PIP: Among Philippine ethnic groups, Muslims indicate the highest desire for children and the Tagalogs the lowest. Islam followers also want 2.22 more children than Iglesia ni Kristo believers, who have the lowest desire in terms of religious sects. These findings are from the Republic of the Philippines Fertility Survey [RPFS). Thomas W. Pullam, a sociology professor and director of the University of Washington's Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, assumed that frequency of church attendance would affect respondents' attitudes toward family planning. The actual result was that those who attended church more frequently were the more regular family planning users. Some respondents used actual family size "to predict desired family size." Women who had large families indicated that they wanted large families. Pullum observed that the husband may be important in setting the desired goal. The presence of the woman's mother or mother-in-law may also be influential. Aside from religion and ethnicity, the other factors contributing to family size are region, type of place (urban or rural), education, husband's occupation, and wife's work pattern. The range from the highest to the lowest desire for children was 2.35 in the ethnic group variable. In this survey the highly educated women, meaning those who were at least college graduates, wanted more children than the women who had some college education. This desire for more children may stem from the women having household help to ease the burden of child care. Pullam expected that women with the most modern type of work would want less children, but this was not the case. At the time of the survey, the current contraceptive users numbered 60%, with 29.1% using oral contraceptives, IUD, condom, or sterilization, and 31.2% other methods like rhythm. Pullum concluded that the use of contraception was predicted by the desire to stop childbearing.

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Contraception
  • Contraception Behavior*
  • Culture
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Family Planning Services
  • Islam*
  • Occupations
  • Philippines
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Religion*
  • Socioeconomic Factors