Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ideal family size among young Americans: Let's get a look at the future by examining ideal family size as reported by young people. According to my analysis of General Social Survey data, the mean ideal number of kids for white Americans ages 18-25 is 2.55 for girls 2.47 for guys. These means are a little higher than for older people.

Here is the breakdown for young whites (N = 416):

Ideal family size--percentages

Men
0 1.5
1 3.6
2 53.3
3 29.4
4 5.1
5 0.5
6 0.0
7+ 0.5
As many as one wants 6.1

Women
0 0.5
1 2.3
2 47.9
3 31.5
4 8.2
5 0.0
6 0.5
7+ 0.0
As many as one wants 9.1

Two children is clearly the modal category for both sexes.

And for young Hispanics (N = 94)?

Ideal family size--percentages

0 1.1
1 0.0
2 33.0
3 35.1
4 22.3
5 2.1
6 2.1
7+ 1.1
As many as one wants 3.2

Unlike whites, a large number of Hispanics feel that 4 kids is ideal, and small percentages even give a higher number. The Hispanic mean is 3.01--one-half child more than for young whites.

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