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Merli, M. Giovanna & Morgan, S. Philip (2011). Below Replacement Fertility Preferences in Shanghai. Population, 66(3-4), 519-542. PMCID: PMC3769784


A growing number of Southern countries, notably in East and Southeast Asia, have completed their fertility transition and now have fertility levels below 2 children per woman. These fundamental changes in childbearing behaviour are the consequence of major socioeconomic and cultural transformations, but also, in some cases, of firm and effective birth control policies. With a total fertility rate of around 1.5 children, China is a well-known and widely documented example of this trend. Once this low fertility level has been reached, is it still appropriate or useful to maintain such a restrictive family planning policy? Would an easing of legislation – to authorize an additional child for example – ultimately lead to a fertility rebound? These are the questions addressed by M. Giovanna Merli and S. Philip Morgan, based on a survey conducted in Shanghai in 2007-2008. Analysing the responses of 1,241 married individuals (Shanghai-registered residents and migrants), they compare actual fertility and desired fertility in the hypothetical context of an easing of current policy. These empirical findings help ground speculations on the future of fertility in the hypothetical absence of policy constraints.


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Merli, M. Giovanna
Morgan, S. Philip