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Costs and benefits of children : implications for population policy

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Publication Date: January 1989

Publisher(s): East-West Center

Author(s): Bryant Robey

Series: Asia-Pacific population & policy ; no. 8

Topic: Population and demographics (Family planning)
Social conditions (Marriage and family life)

Type: Brief


Promoting preferences for smaller families is often a central concern of population policies to lower fertility rates. These policies recognize that individual choice, as well as such factors as access to contraceptives or knowledge of methods, can play a significant role. Parents' family-size preferences are strongly affected by their perceptions of the value, economic contributions, and costs of children. In developing nations, the desire for large families is especially influenced by parental expectations of economic contributions from their children. As nations gain in economic development, however, people typically no longer view their children as an economic advantage, but more frequently cite psychological advantages to having children.