Ideal Family Size

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We’re writing the stories for our future, a world where everyone can access the resources and opportunities—clean drinking water, nutritious foods, safe shelters, education, financial stability—they deserve.

It seems logical that these things would be taken into account when someone thinks of their ideal family size, but the truth is that having children is a decision born of incredibly deep personal and social constructs. Our programs help illuminate some of these constructs, including how childbearing is intricately interwoven with concepts like masculinity, femininity, or faithfulness.

Our programs focus on educating current and prospective parents about the myths driving many family size decisions and the many well-documented health and economic benefits of small family size decisions. This works in conjunction with the program’s efforts at increasing women’s ability to participate in childbearing decisions.

There is ample and incontrovertible historical evidence showing that most women, on average, choose to have two children or less upon attaining reproductive autonomy. However, millions of women around the world are unable to attain reproductive freedom when spouses, parents, religious edicts, and patriarchal social norms pressure them into having more children than they might otherwise desire.

The integral relationship between realized total fertility rates and ideal family size are well documented. Ultimately, fertility rates decline as a function of smaller ideal family sizes. Opening the conversation on reasons motivating larger family decisions, the benefits of smaller families, and the rights of women to use voluntary family planning are a central part of our programmatic work in support of global sustainability.

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