Fertility Intentions and Obstacles to their Realization in France and Italy

Arnaud Régnier-Loilier  By the same author

      Daniele Vignoli  By the same author


This article compares fertility intentions and realization in France (2005-2008) and in Italy (2003-2007), two countries with contrasting fertility models, using comparable data from the longitudinal Generations and Gender Surveys (GGS). Four main findings are presented. First, the strong predictive power of negative fertility intentions and, conversely, the fact that positive intentions overestimate actual outcomes, are highlighted. The comparison then reveals an important difference: the proportion of couples who realized their positive fertility intentions was systematically higher in France and, for those who did not intend to have a child, the proportion who went on to have one was also higher. Alongside the classic effects of age and number of children, socioeconomic factors play an important role, and less favourable situations appear to hinder the realization of intentions. The determinants of intentions are not all identical, however, and there is no single model that applies to both countries: the role of context remains primordial. Last, among couples who did not realize their intentions, some had postponed their childbearing plans while others had abandoned them altogether. Here too, the determinants are not the same in both countries. In this respect, the distinction between those who postpone and those who forego, rarely made in the literature, is an interesting question.