Students’ Attitudes, Fertility Plans, and Perceptions of Parents and Childless/Childfree Couples

Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox, University of Florida

Rising average ages at first birth and increased acceptance of childlessness in the U. S. have raised concerns about future fertility trends and the prospects of very low fertility, particularly among college-educated men and women. The current study uses college students’ responses to hypothetical vignettes (N = 1,266) to assess contemporary perceptions of childless/childfree adults compared to parents and to examine their potential links with students’ attitudes and own fertility plans. We combine quasi-experimental, social-psychological methods with standard survey questions to evaluate their utility in demographic research on young adults’ fertility plans, attitudes, and perceptions. We also examine their connections with gender, race-ethnicity, religion, and family characteristics. Earlier analyses have documented the effects of vignette characteristics – race, gender, parent status, and socioeconomic status - in shaping students’ perceptions. The current analyses will build on this earlier work by connecting students’ perceptions with their attitudes, plans, and other characteristics.

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Presented in Session 30: Religion, Changing Ideologies and Fertility