Patterns of intended and actual fertility among subgroups of foreign-born and native-born Latinas



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Texas A&M University


Explanations for Latinas high fertility levels have been centered in terms of current or actual fertility, as measured by children ever born (CEB). However, studies of this nature have failed to utilize methods appropriate for evaluating a count variable, such as CEB. Even fewer analyses have incorporated "ideal" fertility as an explanatory factor of actual fertility, particularly in the case of Latinas. In this thesis, multiple Poisson and zero-inflated Poisson regression models are used to assess the impact of independent factors on ideal and actual fertility among Latinas, as compared to white women. In the comparative analyses of ideal and actual fertility (CEB), the independent variables in demographic composition (marital status), socialization factors (mother's CEB and church attendance), socioeconomic and employment status (education and employment) and fertility history and intentions (abortions) are found to be consistently, significantly related to both ideal and actual fertility. More importantly, women have higher intended than actual fertility. The fact that Mexican women have been able to realize their fertility intentions provides a better understanding of the fertility behavior of Latinas. This means that Latinas actually want the larger numbers of children that they are having.