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Planned Parenthood recently claimed on Twitter: “Average woman spends 5 years pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant, and 3 DECADES trying to avoid an unintended pregnancy.”

The Guttmacher Institute also states: “The typical American woman, who wants two children, spends about five years pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant, and three decades—more than three-quarters of her reproductive life—trying to avoid pregnancy” http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contraceptive_serv.html#1

I must be a misfit because my husband and I have three children and we wouldn’t mind having more. Also, it’s quite extraordinary to declare that all US women want a certain number of chilldren. I am curious by nature so I did a little research.

The above Guttmacher Institute statement refers to the report “Fulfilling the promise”(2000 ) http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fulfill.pdf

The report refers to the “Birth Expectations” survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and published in 1995. The survey is available online: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_017.pdf

Three interesting facts about the survey:

-conducted in 1973, 1982 and 1988, it surveys women born between 1929 and 1973
-Hispanic/Latina women couldn’t be interviewed
-35% of women were unsure about their answer (table 8)

Though Planned Parenthood refers to an old survey with several limitations, there is one survey that was conducted in 2002. It can be found online:  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_025.pdf

Let us compare the 2002 findings with the 1988 findings:

Total of birth expected: 2.27 (table 5); 1988: 2.22 (table 2). That’s an increase of 0,05 children. Table 7 goes into detail:

8.7% of women expect to have 0 children (same as 1988)
13.3% of women expect to have 1 child; 1988: 14.2% (-0,9%)
42.2% of women expect to have 2 children; 1988: 44.3% (-2.1%)
22.3% of women expect to have 3 children; 1988: 21.5% (+0.8%)
13.5% of women expect to have 4 or more children; 1988: 11.3% (+2.2%)

A few remarks:

-35.8% of women want more 3 or more children. That is not negligible.
-Less and less women want 2 children
-More and more women want 3 or more children
-The percentage of women who want 4 or more children is superior to those who want one single child

Obviously Planned Parenthood’s two children family model doesn’t apply to all and it seems that there is a trend to want more children. I suppose I’m not a misfit mom after all.