MPIDR Working Paper

Research note: comparing ideal family size with observed and forecasted completed cohort fertility in Denmark and Norway

Fallesen, P., Dommermuth, L., Hellstrand, J., Simonsen, E., Loft, L. T. G., Mortensen, L. H.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2022-031, 19 pages.
Rostock, Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (November 2022)
Open Access


We examine whether cohort ideals for children exhibit similar trends as those produced by cohort fertility forecasts in Denmark and Norway – two Nordic countries on diverging fertility trajectories. We use recent data from the Generation and Gender Survey to obtain measures of stated ideal family sizes and compare these stated ideals to those suggested by forecasts. In both Denmark and Norway, women express higher ideal family sizes than the number of children they can expect to have. For Denmark, the difference between stated ideal and expected number of children is stable over forecasts for more recent birth cohorts, whereas for Norway there is an increasing gap across recent birth cohorts between women’s ideal number of children and their expected cohort fertility driven by forecasted decline in cohort fertility. Norway either must see a fertility schedule for cohorts still in the childbearing age drastically different to any schedule ever recorded previously or should expect an increasing deficit in childbearing quantum relative to ideals.

Keywords: fertility, forecasting, Generation and Gender Survey, ideals, Nordic countries

Schlagwörter: Dänemark, Norwegen
Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.