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Sources of error in reported childlessness in a continuous British household survey

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A recent investigation of the British General Household Survey (GHS) found substantial over-reporting of childlessness in recent years, particularly at older ages. We examine the phenomenon in further detail and find that the principal cause was change in survey procedures. To some extent the bias can be corrected for by using information on own children in the household. Revised fertility histories give period estimates of total fertility that are in close agreement with national vital registration statistics, unlike those based on original fertility histories of recent years. Misreporting in fertility histories dates primarily from administrative changes in the GHS in the years 1998–2000, and particularly from 2003, when the option of laptop self-completion (CASI) was introduced for reporting demographic histories.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/39065/

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