National Fertility Survey, 1975 (ICPSR 4334)

Version Date: Feb 23, 2007 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Charles F. Westoff, Princeton University. Office of Population Research; Norman B. Ryder, Princeton University. Office of Population Research


Version V1

The 1975 National Fertility Survey was the fifth in a series of studies (National Fertility Surveys/Growth of American Families) examining marital fertility and family planning. The 1975 version of the National Fertility Survey is unique from the surveys that preceded it (1955, 1960, 1965, and 1970) in that it is longitudinal, incorporating respondents that first participated in the 1970 survey. Respondents were queried on the following main topics: family ideals, work history, family life and women's rights, history of live births and miscarriages/stillbirths, adoptions, abortions, contraception history, family planning and sterilization operations, fertility issues, and current population problems. Questions pertaining to family ideals included preferred family size, preferences with respect to the gender of children, and ideal ages for having first and last children. Regarding work history, respondents were asked about all paid employment since January, 1970, motivation for employment, whether they were currently employed, and whether future employment was probable. Respondents were asked a number of questions about family life and women's rights including whether preschool-aged children suffer if the mother works, if children could have warm relationships with a working mother, if the father should work outside of the home and the mother stay home, whether men and women should have the same job opportunities and be paid the same for doing the same job, and if men and women should receive equal consideration for top-level positions. With respect to pregnancy history, respondents were asked if they had ever had a baby, how many total live births they had had, the date of first live birth, duration of the pregnancy, and about breastfeeding practices. Respondents were also asked about any miscarriages or stillbirths they had including total number and after how many months of pregnancy. Respondents were asked if they had ever legally adopted a child, total number of children they had adopted, date of adoption, and gender of adopted child. Regarding abortion, respondents were asked if they ever had had an abortion, and how many total abortions they had had, after how many months of pregnancy. In addition, respondents were asked about the acceptability of abortion under different circumstances such as if the mother's health was in danger, the pregnancy was the result of rape, or if there was an expectation that the unborn child would be born with a deformity. With respect to contraceptive practices, respondents were asked what methods of contraceptive they had used both past and present, the effectiveness of each of the various methods, and reasons for discontinuing use of the different methods. Regarding family planning, respondents were asked whether they intended to have additional children or not, and about the possibility of changing their minds with respect to having additional children. Respondents were also asked about sterilization operations, including their general attitudes toward male and female sterilization, whether they had undergone a sterilization operation, and if so, what kind of operation. Regarding fertility issues, respondents were asked if future pregnancies were physically possible, whether or not they had intended to have more children prior to learning of physical incapabilities, how many children were intended at that time, whether or not their spouse had had a sterilization operation, and if the operation was to prevent future pregnancies. Respondents were asked about current population problems, whether or not population growth in the United States and in the world was a problem, whether American cities and states had the right to limit the number of incoming inhabitants, and whether limits should be placed on immigration. The dataset includes various demographic and income variables including age, age of husband, level of education, religion, nationality, occupation, work history, total family income, and financial conditions.

Westoff, Charles F., and Ryder, Norman B. National Fertility Survey, 1975. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-02-23.

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United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Center for Population Research
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1975 -- 1976 (Fall--Spring)
  1. The ASCII data file for this study originally had a LRECL of 2,480. This file contained many unused columns that were filled with zeros. During the processing of this study, the unused columns were removed resulting in a new ASCII data file with an LRECL of 1,880.

  2. Certain codes were discovered to be undocumented. A detailed listing of all undocumented codes can be found in the processing notes accompanying the study documentation.

  3. Additional information regarding this study is available from the Office of Population Research at Princeton University and the Data and Program Library Service at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Information about the other studies in the National Fertility Surveys/Growth of American Families series can be found at Princeton's Office of Population Research and the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan.

The data comes from a national probability sample of continuously married (once married and currently married) women who were White, married fewer than 25 years and before the age of 25, and whose husbands also were once married. For marriages lasting more than five years, the sample consists of eligible women selected from the 1970 National Fertility Survey sample who were reinterviewed approximately five years after the 1970 survey. In addition, a proportionate sample of new respondents was added to represent marriages that occurred after the year 1970. There were 1,042 new respondents in the 1975 sample, and there were 2,361 respondents who were reinterviewed from the 1970 sample, for a total of 3,403 respondents.

Continuously married, White women in the United States.



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Westoff, Charles F., and Norman B. Ryder. National Fertility Survey, 1975. ICPSR04334-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-02-23.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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