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Fertility rates in 2018: a guessing-game for most French people

Published 7 August 2019 in Surveys

The global fertility rate in 2018 was an average of 2.4 children for each woman, compared to 2.6 in 2008 (Population Reference Bureau - PRB - août 2018).

Questioned on their knowledge of this figure, between one third and one quarter of French respondents were able to reply correctly. Another third/quarter thought that women had 3.5 children on average. And finally, 29% - the majority of all respondents - said they were unable to answer the question (which required choosing one of the four proposed fertility rates, only one of which was right).

Factors such as level of education, gender, or political preference only seem to influence the "I don’t know" answers rather than having any particular impact on who was able to give the correct answer.

17% of French people were the furthest away from the correct answer in choosing the ’5.5 or more’ rate.

Women were better than men at choosing the right answer. Interestingly, the older respondents were, the less likely they were to provide an answer, and also interestingly, correct responses varied with political opinion but without any coherence or pattern of linearity.

Those with higher levels of education were more likely to give an answer, but not necessarily the right one.

This data comes from our survey conducted by the YouGov Institute and piloted by the research team at University College London and the University of Birmingham as part of the project Aid Attitudes Tracker which measures the evolution of opinions and behaviors on issues of international solidarity in four countries.