Re-Examining the Fertility Assumptions in the UN’s 2010 World Population Prospects: Intentions and Fertility Recovery in East Asia?

Stuart A. Basten, University of Oxford
David A. Coleman, University of Oxford
Baochang Gu, Renmin University of China

This paper is about the future of reproduction in the modern world and the validity or otherwise of the assumptions made about it in the most recent World Population Prospects of the United Nations Convergence of fertility is a core component of almost all international population projections. In this paper, we consider the inclusion of the ‘fertility recovery in East Asia’ as a justification for the model. As well as questioning the extent to which the fertility has, indeed, recovered in East Asia, we examine data concerning fertility intentions - which is, perhaps, one possible justification for assuming a fertility recovery - and find the evidence unconvincing. In particular, we present novel findings of a systematic review of fertility intentions in China over the past 30 years.

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Presented in Session 176: Perspectives on Fertility in Asia