Fertility gap revealed

Women tend to have fewer children than they anticipate, statistics reveal.

Between 1991 and 2007, women asked how many children they intended to have consistently gave a higher rate than the actual average fertility rate.

The intended family size ranged between 2.0 and 2.16 children per woman. Until 2001 the actual fertility rate was lower by around 0.3 to 0.4 children per woman. Since then, the gap has narrowed.

The study by the University of Southampton is published in the journal Population Trends.