|Summary for Variable Group: Birth desires and intentions|
|This variable group describes the respondent's intended and expected number of additional children, how sure she is of the intended number, when she expects to have her next child, and whether she and her husband want to have additional children. It also includes information on the ideal number of children for the respondent personally as well as for the average American family. Retrospective reports of whether past pregnancies were intended are located in the pregnancy interval file.
|Minimum number of children the respondent considers ideal for herself|
|1976 NSFG: Couple File|
|D78||M_D-78||1976 NSFG: Couple File|
|D77||M_D-77||1976 NSFG: Couple File|
|D76||M_D-76/PM_D-76||1976 NSFG: Couple File|
|This variable represents the low end of the range of the number of children the respondent considers ideal for herself or would have chosen for herself. For respondents who provided an exact answer for the ideal number of children, IFSS_IDEALCH_MIN contains that value.
General Comparability Notes
Summary: The variable and question wording are similar but not identical across surveys. Some years ask for a single ideal number of children, while others push for a single number but accept a range of values.
The question text in most surveys distinguishes between women's desires rather than expectations or intentions for what will actually happen. In the 1955 and 1960 GAF, for example, the question text is "If you could start your married life all over again and choose to have just the number of children you would want by the time you were 45, how many would that be?" In the 1965 NFS, the question asks "If you could have exactly the number of children you want, what number would that be?" In later surveys (1970 NFS, 1973 NSFG, 1976 NSFG, 1982 NSFG, 1988 NSFG, and 1995 NSFG), the question is slightly different. These questions make references to "the circumstances of your life" or "knowing how other things are for you and your husband." These questions still address the concept of ideal choice rather than expectations or intentions, but focus on choice within existing constraints rather than unconstrained ideals.
Respondents were given the option to provide a range for the number of ideal children rather than an exact value. Starting in 1965, women had the option of providing a range to the first question, though they were generally prompted to pick a single value; in some years ranges are coded as being one of two consecutive numbers ("3 or 4", e.g.), while others simply record the response as a "range response" and rely on follow-up questions. IFSS_IDEALCH_MIN contains the lower bound of this range. In some cases, respondents chose a single value for the ideal number of children that was outside of the reported range for ideal number of children. As a result, IFSS_IDEALCH_MIN is not always less than IFSS_IDEALCH.
Some respondents provided only the exact number of children they considered ideal; in particular, in 1955 and 1960, respondents were prompted to choose a single value (not counting "as many as possible" or "up to God"). Where a respondent provided a single value, this value is contained in IFSS_IDEALCH_MIN. In these cases, the values of IFSS_IDEALCH_MIN, IFSS_IDEALCH, and IFSS_IDEALCH_MAX are the same.
This variable is defined for all respondents. In the 1965 NFS, the question about ideal family size was only asked for women who reported that they wanted more children (this would correspond with IFSS_RWANT, if a corresponding variable existed in that survey year) or that they currently had more children than they wanted. Women who did not fall in to either of these categories were assumed to have their ideal number of children and were assigned that value for the variable. This recoding was carried out by the survey and not in the harmonization process.
Imputation Flag Exists
|Imputation Flag Values|
|1||Imputed in original study|
|3||Month imputed (Original file edit)|
|4||Age known, month imputed|
|5||Originally imputed as June, recoded to random month|
|7||Multiple regression imputed: Not ascertained|
|8||Multiple regression imputed: Refused|
|9||Multiple regression imputed: Don't know|
|10||Midpoint of a given range|
|11||Answer comes from a follow-up question|
|12||Midpoint of a range given as a follow-up|
|13||Answer is rounded up|
|14||Answer is rounded down|
|15||Reported months and weeks, weeks<=4|
|17||Reported months=weeks & weeks>4|
|18||Reported months!=trunc(weeks/4.35), months!=weeks, weeks>4|
|19||Months coded NA/RF/DK|
|20||Weeks coded NA/RF/DK|
|21||Impossible to determine which method used last|