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Keywords:

  • fertility;
  • decision-making;
  • kinship;
  • Hindus;
  • Nepal

The study of wives' roles in fertility decision-making among 97 caste-Hindu women from West Central Nepal reveals wide variation on four issues: (1) Are fertility decisions conscious? (2) Who makes fertility decisions? (3) Do ideal family size and composition affect fertility decisions? and (4) Are economic, social, cultural or health factors the major motives in fertility decisions? Findings suggest a greater level of variation in and complexity of fertility decisions than appreciated by existing theory. This paper concludes that fertility decisions are highly individualistic and are based more on personal characteristics and life experiences than they are on generalized distinctions between societal types.