Normative Influence and Desired Family Size among Young People in Rural Egypt

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Abstract

Research has identified the lack of acceptance of a two-child-family norm as the biggest obstacle to achieving replacement-level fertility in Egypt. This analysis examines norms about desired family size for 1,366 males and 1,367 females aged 15–24 in 2004 in rural Minya governorate. Two-level random-effects multivariate logistic regression models, stratified by sex and grouped by neighborhood, are used to assess normative influence at the household and neighborhood levels, controlling for individual- and household-level covariates. In the final model, young males in neighborhoods where more people desire a small family are 33 percent more likely to desire a small family than are young males in other neighborhoods. Young females in households with one or more adults preferring a small family are 78 percent more likely to desire a small family, and young females in households with one or more young people who prefer a small family are 37 percent more likely to desire a small family themselves, compared with those living with adults or with young people, respectively, who do not prefer a small family. Programs aiming to reduce fertility should be aware of gender differences in the sources of normative influence on desired family size.

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