Thursday, July 16, 2015

The population of Georgia on the ideal number of children per family

Many factors determine the size of families, including economic, cultural and social influences. Not surprisingly, people’s considerations about its “ideal” size do not often match the reality. In this blog post, we shall have a look at whether Georgians’ views about the ideal number of children per family meet the reality, and how these views differ according to people’s sex, age and settlement type, using data from CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey in 2013.

In response to the question, “What do you think is the ideal number of children per family in Georgia?” there is no statistically significant difference in responses by sex: 47% of women and 45% of men consider three children to be ideal. 

Although the same is true for representatives of all age groups, younger people are more likely to think that smaller family sizes are better. Among the 18-35 age group, 21% say two children is the ideal number, compared to 11% for 36-55 year olds and just 6% in the 56+ age group. On the other hand, twice as many over-55s prefer four children than do 18-35 year olds (34% compared to 16%), and just 4% of both 18-35 year olds and 36-55 year olds think the ideal family has five children, whereas 10% of over-55s do so, with a further 3% thinking six or more children would be best.

Note: Responses “Don’t know” and “Refuse to answer” were excluded from the analysis throughout this blog post. 

The Caucasus Barometer data also shows that attitudes to family size change based on where people live, with a slight preference for bigger families in rural settlements, while in the capital and other urban settlements more than half of people think three children is ideal. 

There is also a strong preference for two or three children among women aged between 18 and 35 – the main childbearing age group, – of whom 77% think so. 

How do actual family sizes match up to this? Figures from Geostat, Georgia’s national statistics office, show that although the number of first children being born has been decreasing in Georgia since 2009, there is an overall rising number of births, that should be attributed to an increase in the numbers of second and third children per family. For instance, in 2006, the share of families’ first children’s births was 61%, second children’s – 28% and third children’s – 9%. By 2014, when the total number of births was much higher, the share of first children’s births had fallen to just 43% of the total, while second and third children’s births comprised 38% and 14%, respectively – the highest levels in any year covered by this data.

This suggests that family size – and, specifically, the actual number of children per families – is edging towards the levels that Georgians say they consider ideal. 

Do you think we’ll soon have most of the Georgian families having three children? Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook page

More data from the Caucasus Barometer surveys is available on our Online Data Analysis site. 

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