Discussion Paper no. 05-07


Using a local qualitative sample from Ontario, we explore the rationales for childbearing behaviour across contrasting familial orientations. There are considerable similarities among respondents with traditional and modern familial orientations in terms of the reasons for having children and the costs and values of children. Nonetheless, persons with modern orientations are more likely to give individual related reasons for having children, and to see the value of children in terms of personal needs and desires. The largest difference relates to the ideal timing of childbearing, as persons with modern orientations are more likely to prefer childbearing in the late 20s or early 30s. While the rationales offered by respondents indicate a culture that is supportive of childbearing, and individuals with more modern orientations have similar views on ideal family size and on the value and cost of children, they will probably have fewer children given their more individualistic orientation to childbearing and the conviction that later childbearing is better.