DO TRAVEL DESIRES AFFECT FERTILITY?

There is disagreement on whether low fertility (and by extension, population decline) is beneficial or harmful. On one hand, ecologists and environmentalists view overpopulation as a central factor for environmental degradation. They often praise the notion of fewer people on earth, since fewer people translate to less pressure placed on natural resources. On the other hand, economists and some sociologists argue that low fertility and population decline are sources of concern, given their potentially threatening economic and social consequences, such as “population aging” and decline in economic productivity. Low fertility is the primary driving force of “population aging,” an increase in the median age of a population and a rise in the fraction of people over 65.7 Having a growing fraction of elderly and shrinking number of working-age individuals (15-64) puts pressure on social security and pensions, while also increasing the need for social services and care for older people. Additionally, as a country’s population shrinks, so does the number of economically active people in that society, thus potentially affecting that country’s long-term economic output.8 Not surprisingly, national governments in many low-fertility countries have recognized the unfavorable implications of population decline, and have taken measures to increase fertility.9,10

Why has fertility fallen to such low levels in so many countries? It is important to note that while an eclectic range of both conventional and unconventional factors universally contribute to low fertility, each individual population may have different contributing factors influencing its fertility rate. Gender equality in both education and the labor force, more effective and higher rates of contraceptive use, and delayed marriages, among other considerations, form what are now considered conventional causal factors of low fertility.11

More recently, a new set of multifarious factors emerging from a modern, post-industrialized, technological society have led to what some demographers refer to as the second demographic transition (SDT). The second demographic transition was coined by demographers Ron Lesthaeghe and DJ van de Kaa, is characterized by “sustained sub-replacement fertility,” and generally follows the well-known (first) demographic transition.12,13 In their discussion of the second demographic transition, Lesthaeghe and Niedert state that long-term sub-fertility stems from “better-educated men and women who hold an egalitarian world view, place greater influence on Maslow’s (1954) ‘higher order of needs’ (i.e., individualistic and expressive orientations and self-actualization), and [have] stronger ‘post-materialist’ political orientations.”14 They add that prolonged education, “increased consumerism associated with self-expressive orientations, finding a suitable companion and realizing a more fulfilled partnership, and keeping an open future” all stand as elements of the SDT.15 Collectively, the SDT suggests that a shift towards individualism presumably has great influence on woman’s desired fertility.

It is important to know that although Lesthaeghe and van de Kaa are indeed viewed as highly venerated pioneers of contemporary low fertility theory with their proposed “second demographic transition,” low fertility theory has its roots in late-nineteenth century demographer Arsene Dumont’s notion of social capillarity, a term coined long before either of the demographic transitions. Social capillarity is described as “the desire of people to rise on the social scale, to increase their individuality as well as their personal wealth.”16 According to Dumont, advancing one’s socio-economic status would require one to make sacrifices, including limiting family size. Dumont pointed out that greatly stratified societies (such as pre-nineteenth-century France) did not allow for much social movement, while democracies (such as late-nineteenth-century France) opened opportunities for citizen social mobility among all social echelons.17 Andre Benjin states that Dumont’s reasoning for limiting childbearing stems from “a selfish desire for security and leisure, individualism, and, finally, the desire to adopt the behavior of a class which individuals were trying to join.”18 While English economist John Stuart Mill argued that it was angst of losing one’s status that would promote lower fertility, Dumont argued that social aspiration would lead to population decline.19

One can tie the second demographic transition and Dumont’s theory of social capillarity with the theories of demographers Ansley Coale and Gary Becker. As a result of the Princeton European Population Fertility Project, Coale concluded that (1) people had accepted calculated choice as a valid element, and (2) people perceived advantages from lowered fertility when discussing low fertility.20 Coale’s claims are important because they suggest that fertility is a conscious and calculated decision. Moreover, Nobel Prize laureate Gary Becker provides in his article An Economic Analysis of Fertility a contentious yet logical claim that children in modern societies are viewed as “consumption 1goods.”21 Becker argues that couples opt to have children not for economic advantages, e.g., extra labor or income, but rather that children serve to satisfy “consumerist” needs of the parents.

It can be succinctly concluded from the discussed theories posited by Dumont, Coale, and Becker—as well as Lesthaeghe and van de Kaa—that (1) couples are motivated by social capillarity to have fewer children; (2) higher education among both genders coupled with greater individualistic aspirations influence lower fertility; (3) fertility is a conscious and calculated decision; and (4) children can be viewed as “consumption goods and satisfaction providers.”

Advancements in aviation technologies coupled with higher salaries have transformed travelling from an exclusive luxury primarily for the rich to a pleasure now enjoyed by many. Escaping quotidian life through travelling and following man’s natural “peripatetic instinct” is more attractive and attainable than ever before. Constant reminders from pop-up internet windows, television advertisements, and magazine articles deepen these desires to travel by reiterating how vast this world really is and the ease with which one can now discover it. These factors have created a culture of wanderlust—a term meaning “strong desires to travel.”22 As a result, “seeing the world,” while cliché, no longer sits idle on the average Westerner’s “bucket list;” it is a reality.

The aim of this study is to extend the understanding of fertility (and specifically, low fertility) concerning female aspirations and personal experiences. The study draws upon quantitative data to probe if strong desires to travel (wanderlust) could influence an individual’s desired family size.

Dumont, Coale, Becker, and Lesthaeghe and Van de Kaa’s theories on low fertility, individualism, materialism, and social mobility provide the basis for which my research questions were formulated: Does wanderlust affect desired fertility? Does the recognition of the financial onus and parental responsibility affect a “wanderslustic woman’s” view of motherhood? Lastly, if an individual’s “wanderlust” really does correlate with lower desired fertility, how would the proposed relationship relate to the theories on low fertility posited by Lesthaege and van de Kaa, Dumont, Coale and Becker?

THE RESEARCH PROJECT

Methodology

Virginia Tech female students were surveyed in order to identify their desires to travel in the future, perceptions toward motherhood and life aspirations, and desired fertility (DF).23

The key question which formed the survey’s two sampling groups was based on a yes/no answer to the question: “Have you studied and/or lived abroad (outside of the United States) for longer than four weeks?” This study collectively refers to females who have studied abroad (respondents to “yes”) as Group A while those who have not studied abroad (those who answered “no”) as Group N. The answer to this question served as the key variable due to the hypothesis that those females already exposed to living and traveling abroad understand its perceived thrill. Because this hypothesis may not always hold true, the survey contained various questions to identify females who have not had the chance to go abroad but still have wanderlust as well as to identify those who have been abroad but still prefer less itinerant or “domicile” lifestyle. Examples of such questions will be given below. Only females were surveyed, as females are generally viewed as the ultimate decision makers for fertility.

The participants of the study were reached using cluster sampling. After receiving approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the surveys were sent to two geography courses with a combined total of 460 female participants. The courses are taken by many as elective credits and thus attract a diverse range of students who represent nearly every department at Virginia Tech. It initially seemed unlikely that a sizeable number of females in the two courses had studied or lived abroad; therefore, in order to seek participants that would form Group A, an additional 80 surveys were sent out directly to students who were or had been abroad. The contact information of such participants was available publicly through (1) the Virginia Tech study abroad website and/or (2) Facebook which has specific groups exclusively for Virginia Tech students who are abroad. After the survey period of two weeks, 100 participants formed Group A (GA) while Group N (GN) had 157 participants; the response rate for the study was 46.6% (257 completed surveys, 540 females contacted).

The survey incorporated both qualitative and quantitative questions making for a total of 12 questions, making it possible to discuss a large number of relationships between questions from various angles. Due to length considerations, the discussion will focus on the relationship of five questions. Two of the five questions form the pith for drawing conclusions and a central argument while the other three are especially helpful in bolstering the conclusion derived from the former two. The remaining seven questions and their unstratified results can be found in Appendix 1.

Results

Two Central Questions

Question 1: I have studied AND/OR lived abroad (for longer than four weeks): Yes No (Table 1)

Question 2: The number of kids you would like to have is/are…24 0 1 2 3 4 5+ (Table 2)

Desired Fertility (DF) Between Group A and Group N

I hypothesized that females with exposure to studying and/or living abroad would be more likely “to have wanderlust” and thus may prefer smaller families (as children are difficult and expensive to travel with). As noted below, females in GN would like an average of .7 children per woman more than in GA:

DFGroupN-DFGroupA= 2.82-2.12=.7

As seen below, performing a two-sample t-test to compare the means of Group A and Group N strengthens this hypothesis and allows us to conclude that females who go abroad are likely to desire fewer children than those who do not (t=5.129, P

Supporting Three Questions

Importance of Motherhood by Group

Question 3: Is it important for you to have kids? Yes No (Table 4)

The first supporting question, “Is it important for you to have kids?,” had the purpose of measuring how important motherhood was to the participants. With the results of the Chi-Squared Test above, it can be concluded that on average, females who have spent time abroad are less likely to find motherhood to be “important” than females who have not been abroad. (X2 = 3.981, P = .046). A possible explanation for this gap in the importance of motherhood between Group A and Group N is that female participants who go abroad may have a different outlook on life or different way of thinking. Leaving one’s native country means breaking out of one’s comfort zone and immersing oneself in new cultures, customs, and norms. Perhaps those willing to take on this challenge lead more confident or individualistic lives than their “homebody” counterparts. If this is the case, these women may see motherhood as an impediment to leading their “wanderlustic” lifestyles.

It would, however, be erroneous to assume that all of the females who want to see the world actually study abroad. After all, there are likely many females who would like to study abroad but are unable to due to time, health, or money constraints. The following question was asked to identify who from which group deems seeing the world as “very important” and who as “nice, but not what life is all about.”

Importance of World Travel

Question 4: “Seeing the world” is… (Tables 6 & 7)

  1. Very important in my life
  2. Nice, but not what life is all about
  3. Not very important

The question regarding the importance of “seeing the world” sheds light on the participants’ priorities in life. Specifically, it is plausible to hypothesize that respondents who chose A, “very important in my life,” have consciously decided that they would like to pursue international travel while those who responded to choice B, “nice, but not what life is about,” appear to have less of an impulse to travel.

As illustrated in Table 7, the desired fertility of respondents of choice B (“nice, but not what life is all about”) is noticeably higher than the desired fertility of those who chose option A (“very important in my life”). By performing a simple t-test, we can see that the two means are statistically different (F = .229, P = .036) and thus may conclude that women who find traveling “very important” (what some may consider “women with wanderlust”) desire on average fewer children than those who show less of a fervor to explore the world.

Looking at the stratified results, one sees that women who have had experience living/studying abroad (Group A) find it overwhelmingly more important to “see the world” than those from Group N. While 45% of Group N opted for B (“nice, but not what life is all about”) only about 20% of females in Group A shared a similar view. On the contrary, 55% of females in Group N and 81% of females in Group A indicated from their response that seeing the world is very important to them (Z = 4.55, P

A detail worth mentioning is that out of all 257 responses, no participant viewed “seeing the world” as unimportant (choice C). Given that all of the female participants in the study are constantly exposed to the idea of international travel through media advertisements, university courses, television programs, among other things, it is probable that they all feel comfortable with the idea that international travel is at least “nice,” if not very important. I also argue that it is part of the human psyche to either live naturally itinerant or at least be curious as to what else exists in the world; after all, the fact that human beings are one of the few species that have migrated to every corner of the world cannot solely be attributed to survival.

To Work, Mother or Travel?

Question 5: I think that it is MOST important in life to… (Tables 8 & 9)

  1. Be successful in my job and enjoy a financially comfortable life
  2. Get married, have a family and focus on being a good mother
  3. Travel the world and experience everything I can before I die

Perhaps the most edifying relationship found in the data comes from the question, “I think that it is MOST important in life to….” What specifically stands out is that the desired fertility of those who chose choice B (“get married, have a family and focus on being a good mother”) was radically higher than those who chose choices A (“be successful in my job…”) and C (“travel the world...”). Comparing the desired fertility mean between the participants who answered “A,” “B,” or “C” evinces that long term priorities correlate with differing desired fertility.

This question is unique in that it indirectly asks women to choose their primary priority orientation: career oriented, family oriented, or travel oriented. From the pairwise comparison chart (Table 10), we see that “life priority orientation” indeed affects desired fertility. Moreover, the average desired fertility of respondents to choice A (career oriented) and choice C (travel oriented), as the pairwise comparisons above indicate, are not statistically different (P = .131) while the means (average desired fertility) of choices A and B (career oriented and family oriented) and choice B and C (family oriented and travel oriented) were significantly different (P

What is worthy to examine is not why family oriented females prefer more children, but rather why the career and travel oriented females prefer significantly fewer children. A probable explanation is that the career and travel oriented participants (regardless of experience abroad) appear to follow “individualistic aspirations.” While the majority of these women indeed would like children, on average they desire fewer. The idea of individualistic aspirations (which will be discussed in more depth in the following section), is a recurring theme tied to declining fertility. Given the empirical data regarding the participants’ primary orientation, we are able to observe that most career and travel oriented women probably view larger families as an impediment to living out their individualistic career or travel aspirations.

Table 11 shows the stratified results of “life priority” by group while Table 12 contains the results of a two-way ANOVA test between life priority and study abroad experience with the dependent variable as desired fertility. Following these tables is an interaction plot of the main effects, where the Y-axis shows desired fertility and the X-axis shows life priority. This plot is especially useful in observing that desired fertility among participants in Group A is lower on all levels than Group N. In other words, females from Group A who are “career oriented” tend to desire fewer children than the “career oriented” participants in Group N. Likewise, “travel oriented” and “family oriented” participants in Group A, on average desire fewer children than “family or travel oriented” participants in Group N.

Admittedly, this question may be considered contentious, as some females may have found it difficult to choose only one of the three responses. After all, most females would probably like to have a financially comfortable life, be a good mother, and travel the world. Therefore, while the question indeed provides empirical evidence for desired fertility differences between different female priority orientations, it does not necessarily imply that females who want to travel are not interested in having children, or that good mothers cannot work and live financially comfortable lives.

DISCUSSION

Why Such High Desired Fertility?

The average desired fertility of the 257 female participants was 2.54, a rather high number when compared to the 2010 TFR rate in the United States of about 2.1.25 According to John Bongaarts, desired fertility exceeds the actually TFR in nearly all populations.26 A number of factors may help to explain why there exists such a large gap between the DF of this study and the actual TFR of the United States. First, the female participants who took the survey are both childless and unmarried. They therefore may idealize motherhood and/or the prospects of a large family without considering the amount of financial investment and physical care each child requires. Additionally, upon joining the labor market, these females may realize that their idealistic family size may threaten their ability to maintain a full time job, afford modern day luxuries, and/or lead an individualistic lifestyle. Moreover, as Bongaarts points out, the factor of “involuntary limitation on fertility” caused by infecundity, marital disruption, late age of marriage and non-marriage is inevitable in every population, which may prevent some females from having their desired number of kin.27

Limitations

One must also understand that direct causality cannot be confirmed by this survey; the participants did not have a chance on the survey to explicitly state why they chose their desired fertility amount.

Despite the convincing statistics, other unmeasured causal factors may also come into play. On one hand, the idea of studying or living abroad may be an attractive option for females who already have a strong sense of wanderlust or an individualistic or venturous mentality. On the other hand, being exposed to life abroad may cause females to gain a new appreciation towards international travel and inspire them to continue traveling. Also, participants with experience abroad, for example, are more likely to come from families with higher socio-economic backgrounds while those from low(er) socio-economic echelons may be financially unable to afford spending time abroad.

Conclusions

Given the nature of the survey and its results, the study suggests that (1) there exists a relationship between an experience living abroad and desired fertility, where a presence of the former correlates to a decrease in the latter; (2) women who consider seeing the world “very important” prefer to have fewer children than women who find traveling “nice, but not what life about”; (3) on average, women who have not lived abroad find it more important to have children than those who have lived abroad; and (4) regardless of experience abroad, females to whom it is most important in life to start a family prefer to have significantly more children than females who would rather traveling or pursue a career oriented, financially comfortable life. Additionally, the results suggest that college experiences, such as studying abroad, may influence later life decisions such as fertility intentions.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN CONTEXT WITH THE SECOND DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION?

It is important to reiterate that directly adducing traveling as the cause of low fertility rates would be illogical; yet it would be logical to conclude that a desire for a more self-indulgent lifestyle, which includes traveling, could contribute to sub-level fertility. While this study was novel in the way in which it was undertaken, the data simply strengthens the theory of the second demographic transition, in which women characterized by “increased consumerism associated with self-expressive orientations” tend to have fewer children than those who prefer more domestic and traditional lifestyles.28

FUTURE RESEARCH

This study examining the relationship between wanderlust and desired fertility opens up various directions for further, perhaps larger scale research projects dealing with the following questions:

  • How can causal claims be made to desired fertility?
  • What are examples of other lifestyle preferences or priorities that influence desired fertility?
  • Which measures on the macro (governmental and/or societal) or micro (individual) level could be taken to help females balance their desired fertility and individualistic aspirations?
  • In an ever-growing consumerist world, is it likely that fertility rates remain under the replacement rate?

By working to answer these questions, among many others, societies with high fertility rates may have answers that lead to apposite policy solutions to cope with low fertility.

NOTES

1 A TFR of 2.1 is the “replacement rate” in low mortality countries.
2 Bongaarts, John. “Fertility Decline in the Developed World: Where Will It End?” American Economic Review 89.2 (1999): 256-60. Print.
3 Morgan, S. Philip, and Miles G. Taylor. “Low Fertility at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century.” Annual Review of Sociology 32.1 (2006): 375-99. Print.
4 Fertility in some East Asian cities and city-states are the lowest in the world, at .6 in Shanghai, 1.04 in Hong Kong, and 1.22 in Singapore.
5 World Bank World Development Indicators for Fertility. Raw data. Public Data via Google
6 “Fertility Statistics.” Eurostat. European Commission, Oct. 2011. Web. 05 Jan. 2011. <http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Fertility_statistics>.
7 Gavrilov, Leonid, and Patrick Heuveline. “Population Aging.” Longevity Science: Unraveling the Secrets of Human Longevity & Aging. Manuscript from The Encyclopedia of Population, 2003. Web. 08 Jan. 2012. <http://longevity-science.org/Population_Aging.htm>.
8 Harris, Fred R. The Baby Bust: Who Will Do the Work? Who Will Pay the Taxes? Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Print.
9 Jones, Gavin W., Paulin Tay. Straughan, and Angelique Wei Ming. Chan. Ultra-low Fertility in Pacific Asia: Trends, Causes and Policy Issues. London: Routledge, 2009. Print.
10 Mcdonald, Peter. “Low Fertility and the State: The Efficacy of Policy.” Population and Development Review 32.3 (2006): 485-510. Print.
11 Bulatao, Rodolfo A., and John B. Casterline. Global Fertility Transition. New York: Population Council, 2001. Print.
12 Lesthaeghe, Ron. The Unfolding Story of the Second Demographic Transition. Rep. Ann Arbor: Population Studies Center University of Michigan, 2010. Web.
13 R. Lesthaeghe, D. van de Kaa: “Twee demografische transities?” (Two demographic transitions?) in Lesthaeghe & van de Kaa (eds): Bevolking - Groei en Krimp, Mens en Maatschappij, Van Loghum Slaterus, Deventer, 1986 : 9-24.
14 Lesthaeghe, Ron J., and Lisa Neidert. “The Second Demographic Transition in the United States: Exception or Textbook Example?” Population and Development Review Volume 32.Issue 4 (2006): p. 669. Print.
15 Ibid. p. 669
16 Weeks, John Robert. “Chapter 3 Demographic Perspectives.” Population: an Introduction to Concepts and Issues. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008. 86-88. Print.
17 Ibid., p. 87-88.
18 Bejin, A. (1989). Arsene Dumont and social capillarity. Population 44(6): 1009-1028.
19 See Weeks, Population: an Introduction to Concepts and Issues in footnote 3.
20 Coale Ansley J. (1973). “The Demographic Transition Reconsidered,” International Population Conference, vol. 1goods
21 Becker, G. (1960) “An Economic Analysis of Fertility,” in Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, Universities-National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Series 11. Princeton NJ: NBER: 209-31
22 “Definition for Wanderlust - Oxford Dictionaries Online (World English).” Oxford Dictionaries Online. Web. 05 Jan. 2012. <http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/wanderlust>
23 For this study, desired fertility (DF) refers to the number of children that each female would like to have.
24 All statistics in this study were calculated using “5” for the desired fertility of respondents who answered “5+.”
25 Day, Jennifer. “National Population Projections.” Population Profile of the United States. US Census Bureau. Web. <http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/natproj.html>.
26 Bongaarts, John. Measurement of Wanted Fertility. New York, NY: Population Council, 1990. Print.
27 Ibid.

WORKS CITED

“World Development Indicators: Fertility Rate.” Chart. World Bank Data, Google Charts. Web. 20 Mar. 2011. <http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&met_y=sp_ado_tfrt&hl=en_US&dl=en_US>.

Becker, G. (1960) “An Economic Analysis of Fertility,” in Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries,Universities-National bureau of Economic Research Conference Series 11. Princeton NJ: NBER: 209-31

Bejin, A. (1989). Arsene Dumont and social capillarity. Population 44(6): 1009-1028.

Bongaarts, John. Measurement of Wanted Fertility. New York, NY: Population Council, 1990. Print.

Bongaarts, John. “Fertility Decline in the Developed World: Where Will It End?” American Economic Review 89.2 (1999): 256-60. Print.

Bulatao, Rodolfo A., and John B. Casterline. Global Fertility Transition. New York: Population Council, 2001. Print

Coale Ansley J. (1973). “The Demographic transition Reconsidered,” International Population Conference, vol. 1

Day, Jennifer. “National Population Projections.” Population Profile of the United States. US Census Bureau. Web. <http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/natproj.html>.

“Definition for Wanderlust - Oxford Dictionaries Online (World English).” Oxford Dictionaries Online. Web. 05 Jan. 2012. <http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/wanderlust>

“Fertility Statistics.” Eurostat. European Commission, Oct. 2011. Web. 05 Jan. 2011. <http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Fertility_statistics>.

Gavrilov, Leonid, and Patrick Heuveline. “Population Aging.” Longevity Science: Unraveling the Secrets of Human Longevity& Aging. Manuscript from The Encyclopedia of Population, 2003. Web. 08 Jan. 2012. <http://longevity-science.org/Population_Aging.htm>.

Harris, Fred R. The Baby Bust: Who Will Do the Work? Who Will Pay the Taxes? Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Print.

Hesketh, T. “The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years.” New England Journal of Medicine 353.11 (2005): 1171-176. Print.

Jones, Gavin W., Paulin Tay. Straughan, and Angelique Wei Ming. Chan. Ultra-low Fertility in Pacific Asia: Trends, Causes and Policy Issues. London: Routledge, 2009. Print.

Lesthaeghe, Ron J., and Lisa Neidert. “The Second Demographic Transition in the United States: Exception or Textbook Example?” Population and Development Review Volume 32.Issue 4 (2006): 669-98. Print.

Lesthaegheghe, Ron. The Unfolding Story of the Second Demographic Transition. Rep. Ann Arbor: Population Studies Center University of Michigan, 2010. Web.

Livingston, Brendan. “The One-child Policy: an Analysis.” Web. 24 Mar. 2011. <http://legacy.lclark.edu/~econ/China.htm>.

Mcdonald, Peter. “Low Fertility and the State: The Efficacy of Policy.” Population and Development Review 32.3 (2006): 485-510. Print.

Morgan, S. Philip, and Miles G. Taylor. “Low Fertility at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century.” Annual Review of Sociology 32.1 (2006): 375-99. Print.

Naughton, Barry. The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2007. Print.

Online Etymology Dictionary. Web. 27 Mar. 2011. <http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=wanderlust>.

Wanderlust. Web. 27 Mar. 2011. <http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/wanderlust>.

Weeks, John Robert. “Chapter 3 Demographic Perspectives.” Population: an Introduction to Concepts and Issues. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008. 86-88. Print.

World Bank World Development Indicators for Fertility. Raw data. Public Data via Google

Tables and Figures

I have studied AND/OR lived abroad
(for longer than four weeks):
Frequency  
  No (Group N) 157
Yes 100
Total 257

Table 1

  I have studied AND/OR lived abroad (for longer than four weeks): N Mean (Desired Fertility) Std. Dev Std. Error Mean
The number of kids you would like to have is/are… Yes (Group A) 100 2.12 1.094 .109
  No (Group N) 157 2.82 1.053 .084

Table 2: Group Statistics

  Is it important for you to have kids? Total
No Yes
I have studied AND/OR lived abroad (for
longer than four weeks):
No (Group N) Count 20 137 157
Expected Count 25.8 131.2 157.0
Yes (Group A) Count* 22 77 99
Expected Count 16.2 82.8 99.0
Total   Count 42 214 256
Expected Count 42.0 214.0 256.0

*One participant in Group A did not answer this question
Table 4

    Total Frequency (%)
Group N Group A
Seeing the world is... Nice, but not what life is all about 70 19 89 35%
  Very important in my life 87 81 168 65%
Total 157 100 257 100%

*None of the 257 participants chose “Not Very Important”
Table 6

  Seeing the world is... N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error
The number of kids you would like to have is/are (edited)... Nice, but not what life is all about 87 2.75 1.070 .115
  Very important in my life 165 2.44 1.133 .088

  Levene's Test t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df. Sig (2-tailed) Mean Diff. Std. Error Diff 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
Lower Upper
The number of kids you would like to have is/are (edited)... .228 .633 2.110 250 .036 .311 .147 .021 .601
Equal variances assumed  

Table 7: Group Statistics (Above) & Independent Sample Tsts: Seeing the world...(Below)

I think that it is MOST important in life to… Frequency Frequency (%)
Valid Be successful in my job and enjoying a financially comfortable life 62 24%
Get married, have a family and focus on being a good mother 90 35%
Travel the world and experience everything I can before I die 100 39%
Total (Response) 252 98%
Missing (Non-Response) 5 2%
Total 257 100%

Table 8

Dependent Variable: The number of kids you would like to have is/are (edited)...

Groups I think that it is MOST
important in life to…
N Mean (Desired Fertility) Std. Error 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
Group N Career Oriented 38 2.474 .166 2.147 2.800
Family Oriented 67 3.194 .125 2.947 3.440
Travel Oriented 49 2.551 .146 2.263 2.839
Group A Career Oriented 24 1.667 .209 1.256 2.078
Family Oriented 23 2.652 .213 2.232 3.072
Travel Oriented 51 2.098 .143 1.816 2.380

Table 11: Desired Fertility and “Life Priority” Stratified by Group

Dependent Variable: The number of kids you would like to have is/are (edited)...

I think that it is MOST important in life to… Mean (Desired Fertility)
Be successful in my job and enjoying a financially comfortable life 2.070
Get married, have a family and focus on being a good mother 2.923
Travel the world and experience everything I can before I die 2.325

Table 9: Desired Fertility and “Life Priority”

APPENDIX 1

Remaining Seven Questions (Unstratified in Groups)

Individuals may request the stratified results to the following questions which will be given upon the discretion of the researcher and/or research mentor.

1) Choose one of the following:

I generally go on vacation within a one day drive where I live 72 (28%)
Vacations are usually within the 50 United States, but are occasionally abroad 126 (49%)
Vacations generally entail visiting another country 50 (19%)
I rarely take vacations; I have everything I need around my house 8 (3%)
no answer 1 (0%)

2) How many of the seven continents have you visited? (NOTE: For this study, the Caribbean is part of North America)

I’ve never left North America or the Caribbean 64 (25%)
One 45 (18%)
Two 91 (35%)
Three or more 56 (22%)
No answer 1 (0%)

3) How many round-trip airplane trips do you take yearly? (one trip=a departure and arrival)

Zero 41 (16%)
One a year 113 (44%)
Two a year 59 (23%)
Three times a year 21 (8%)
Four or more times a year 23 (9%)
No answer 0 (0%)

4) My dream job has me...

Staying in one community 37 (14%)
Staying in one community but with the possibility to relocate domestically 76 (30%)
Staying in one community but with the possibility to relocate internationally 44 (17%)
Working partly abroad and partly in the States 75 (29%)
Working and living abroad for the majority of my life 25 (10%)
No answer 0 (0%)

5) If you are planning on having children, when do you expect to have your first child?

20-23 5 (2%)
24-27 79 (31%)
28-31 128 (50%)
32-35 26 (10%)
36-39 1 (0%)
40+ 0 (0%)
I do not want children 18 (7%)
No answer 0 (0%)

6) Is it appropriate for a woman to be an at-home mother and not work full time?

Yes 193 (75%)
No 63 (25%)
no answer 1 (0%)

7) If I do have kids, I will probably…

Travel with them primarily in the United States 86 (33%)
Travel with them predominantly out of the country 19 (7%)
Travel equally abroad as domestically 151 (59%)
No answer 1 (0%)

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THOMAS ANDERSON


Thomas Anderson, from Centreville, Virginia graduated in Spring 2011 with degrees in International Studies and Spanish. He would like to thank Dr. Ted Fuller, Sociology, for his guidance, suggestions, and many talks about demography that led to this article. Thomas wants to pursue a Ph.D. in demography and eventually end up in academia or a research think tank.