Dynamics of Values in Fertility Change

The global transformation in the number of children women bear has been one of the most remarkable changes in social behaviour in the twentieth century. The search for explanations of the causes in childbearing behaviour, and particularly in the values attached to children, remains a central research preoccupation of population scientists. This book explores the dimensions of values identified as significant in their impact on fertility decisions. It offers a range of perspectives on a mosaic of values perceived to be of importance in influencing the bearing and caring of children. The book examines the macro and micro theories of the value of children, and considers the multi-dimensional nature of value change. The chapters explore the nature of the mechanisms by which value change may serve to reinforce or promote the ideational essence of change and the impact of pressures for change. It is observed that gender, religion, and culture, all function as complementary lenses through which the necessity of value maintenance or modification is viewed. The book concludes that fertility behaviour is value-driven, but that fertility change is not necessarily driven by value change. The values of most significance to fertility are more fundamental and general values, rather than explicit 'fertility values'.