The Path to Replacement Fertility in Egypt: Acceptance, Preference, and Achievement

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Social Research Center (SRC)

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Laila O. El-Zeini

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Publication Date

Fall 1-9-2008



This study draws upon data from the 2004 Slow Fertility Transition survey, a follow-up to the 2003 Egypt Interim Demographic and Health Survey, to investigate obstacles to achieving replacement fertility. To account for the likelihood of embracing the two-child ideal, the analysis adopts a framework with the acronym APA: Acceptance of the two-child ideal, Preference for that ideal, and Achievement of that preference. The framework posits a hierarchy among the three and hypothesizes that each depends on a set of factors, including gender stratification, economic expectations, perception of the costs and benefits of having children, and the costs of fertility regulation. The results indicate that son preference and the perceived low cost of childrearing are major obstacles to the acceptance of the two-child family. Son preference, other discriminatory gender attitudes, optimistic economic expectations, and fear of contraceptive side effects are associated with a low preference for and ambivalence about having only two children. Given a decisive preference, lower socioeconomic status and strong son preference are the major obstacles to the achievement of the two-child ideal.

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