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(Figures include children enrolled in kindergarten. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand without being adjusted to group totals, which are independently rounded)

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increase in

in lifetime born.

The data

completed fertility, that is, average numbers of children ever



on women by number of children ever born are most easily evaluated in terms of population replacement needs when they are based on all women, including single women, in the figures on "general fertility" cited above. Separate data on "marital fertility" are also presented for ever-married women. In general, increases in marital fertility tween 1950 and 1954, age for age, were only slightly higher than those in general fertility. In other words, the bulk of the total change between 1950 and 1954 came mainly from an increase in the number of children per evermarried woman rather than from any gains in the proportion of women at each age who were married.

The survey data indicate that, between 1950 and 1954, the number of ever-married women increased in the age groups at ages over 30 years and declined or changed little at younger ages (table 1). This changing distribution of women by age helps to explain the recent increases in the annual number of second and higher order births and the reductions in the annual numbers of first births, as shown by vital statistics. Furthermore, since so many women had already had their first child, the proportion of women who were subject to having their second, or subsequent, child has been increasing.


of the

In 1954, only about 13 percent ever-married women 30 to 34 years old were childless, that is, had borne no children. was one of the lowest proportions of childlessness in many years. By the time these women reach the end of the childbearing period, their rate of childlessness will be still smaller. Even the women 25 to 29 years old in 1954 already had a lower estimated percent childless (17) than women 45 to 49 years old (19 percent). Comparisons of data for 1950 and 1954 in table 1 suggest, moreover, that the proportion of women with only one child ever born in a lifetime will diminish; increases are already occurring in proportion of women with two or three



Table 2 presents some data for women married once and husband present, that is, for women in unbroken first marriages. Table 3 presents data for identical cohorts of women

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Rates of children ever born for cohorts of women at one date may be subtracted from rates at a later date for the same cohort to get an estimate of changes in the interim. However, such estimates require more caution in interpretation when they refer to evermarried women than they do when they refer to all women, because additions of ever-married women from those newly married (with few children per 1,000 women) depress the average somewhat. Thus, increases in the number of children ever born per 1,000 women between 1950 and 1954 are larger for all women than for ever-married women, as shown in table 3.

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Coverage.--The data in this report relate to practically all women 15 years old and over in the United States. Of the relatively few women in the Armed Forces in April 1954 and 1952, all were excluded from the survey except those who were living off post or with families on post in the United States.

Children ever born.--Women who were married, widowed, or divorced were asked the number of children ever born to them, exclusive of still-births. The information sought was the total number of live births the woman had had. The enumerator was instructed not to count adopted children, stepchildren, or other children not born to the woman. On the other hand he was to count children born before and during the present marriage, children who had died, and any other children born to the woman but no longer in the household, as well as those still present. Single women were not asked the question and were presumed to be childless for purposes of fertility data. It is likely that many women living with an illegitimate child reported themselves as having been married, and hence were asked the question on children ever born.

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Marital status.--The present report classifies women as single (never married); married; and married once, husband present. The category "Ever married" comprises persons who are married, widowed, or divorced. The category "Married once, husband present" comprises women married only once, with the husband and wife both reported as members of the household or quasi household even though the husband or wife may have been temporarily away on business or vacation, visiting, in a hospital, etc., at the time of the enumeration.


The estimates for 1954 and 1952 presented in this report are based on data obtained in connection with the monthly population sample survey of the Bureau of the Census. The estimates for 1950 and 1940 are based on samples of the 1950 and 1940 Census data. Information on the reliability of the 1950 data may be obtained from 1950 Census of Population, Vol. IV, Special Reports, Part 5C, "Fertility." Information on the reliability of the 1952 and 1940 data is found in Current Population Reports, Series P-20, No. 46, December 31, 1953, and in the 1940 Census special reports on Differential Fertility, 1940 and 1910.

The statistics for April 1954 are based on a sample design instituted in January 1954. This sample is spread over 230 sample areas comprising 453 counties and independent cities. A total of 24,000 to 26,000 dwelling units and other living quarters are designated for the sample at any time, and completed interviews are obtained each month from about 20,000 to 22,000 households. Of the remainder, about 500 to 1,000 are households for which information should be obtained but is not, and the rest are vacant dwelling units or those otherwise not to be enumerated for the survey.

Since the estimates are based on a sample, they are subject to sampling variability. The standard error is a measure of sampling variability. The chances are about 68 out of 100 that difference due to sampling variability between an estimate and the figure that would have been obtained from a complete enumeration is less than the standard error. The chances are about 95 out of 100 that the difference is less than twice the standard error and 99 out of 100 that it is less than 2 times the standard error.

The following illustrations, based on rough computations from the new survey, indicate the order of the magnitude of the sampling errors for some typical statistics in April 1954. There were an estimated 2,051 children ever born per 1,000 women 30 to 34 years old. The sampling error of the estimate of 2,051 is roughly 25. The chances are about 68 out of 100 that a complete enumeration would show that there were no fewer than 2,026 nor no more than 2,076 children ever born per 1,000 women between the ages of 30 and 34 years. The survey shows about 19.9 percent

of women of ages 40 to 44 ever married with 1 child ever born; the standard error of the estimate of 19.9 percent is roughly 1 percentage point. The report also shows that 5,380,000 women 25 to 29 years old had ever been married. The standard error of the 5,380,000 is about 120,000.

In addition to sampling variation, the estimates are subject to biases due to errors of response and to nonreporting, but the possible effect of such biases is not included in the above measures of reliability. Some evidence of the combined effect of sampling

variability and other causes of bias may be seen in the data for women 45 to 49 years old in 1954. The women 40 to 44 years old in 1950 had an average of 2,170 children ever born per 1,000 women and were so nearly through childbearing that their average number of children should not have increased much further; yet the figures for women 45 to 49 years old in 1954 show an average of 2,269 children per 1,000 women. Another example is the rather low percent childless among women 50 years old and over in 1954, as compared with expectations from data for other years, and the rather high percent with 7 or more children.

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