How the Number of Children Ever Born Calculated in Population Studies?

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Information on the number of children ever born is collected from ever-married or currently married women through census and/or fertility surveys. The present age of the mother is also available from the same sources.

By cross-classifying the age of the currently married woman and the number of children ever born to her, it is possible to compute the average number of children ever born per currently married woman.

This measure is based on the actual reproductive performance of a group of women, and provides information on the average number of children born per married woman up to a certain age, or if the group has passed out of the reproductive age group, by the end of the child-bearing period.

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When the average number of children born per woman is computed for those who are beyond the reproductive ages, this measure is known as completed fertility or completed family size.

At this point, it is necessary to clarify that while the completed mean family size is based on the actual reproductive experience of a group of women over a period of several years; the total fertility rate is a hypothetical measure of completed family size and is based on the fertility performance of a group of women during one year.

Thus, the average number of children ever born per women up to a certain age, or by the end of the reproductive period, is a cohort measure as against current measures based on reproductive performance in one year.

How the average number of children ever born per currently married woman for different age groups is computed on the basis of the data collected for the Goa Fertility and Family Planning Survey.

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The average number of ever born children for currently married women in the age groups 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44 for Panaji, Goa, was 0.42, 1.35, 2.41, 3.41, 4.26 and 4.66 respectively. For women of 45 years and above, the average number of children ever born per woman was 4.66 which may be considered as the completed family size.

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