Mother-in-law’s Fertility or Husband Fertility Preference: Who has Greater influence on Young Women Fertility Preference in India?

Divya Kumari, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

This paper examines relative effect of mother-in-law’s fertility/desire for grandchildren and husband’s fertility preference on young women (18-35 years) preferred family size and onset of fertility in rural north India. The analysis is based on quantitative data from 500 trios – wives (index women), their husbands, and mothers-in-law. Preferred family size of wives and husbands (couples) are measured separately by Coombs’s scale. Multivariate analyses are employed to estimate family size preference of index women and onset of childbearing. Mother-in-law’s own fertility and desire for grandchildren as well as husband’s fertility preference is positively associated with preferred family size of index women, however effect of mother-in-law desired for grandchildren is greatest. This is true for onset of early childbearing as well. However, increased level of schooling among index women, minimized the effect of the mothers-in-law and husband. This implies that education may provide index women with greater autonomy on reproductive decision.

Keywords: Family demography, Family planning and contraception, Fertility and childbirth, Gender

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  Presented in Session P13.