Can women remember how many children they have borne? Data from the east Caribbean.

A. W. Brittain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The number of births reported by 786 women of native ancestry on the 1954 census of St. Barthélémy, French West Indies, was compared to the number of births registered to these same women in the records of vital events. The magnitude of the difference between the two numbers was related to a woman's parity and marital status, but not to her age or literacy. In general, the agreement between the two numbers was very high, with the mean of reported parities within 5 per cent of the mean of registered births for all age groups except one, where the difference was 5.6 per cent. The women of St. Barthélémy were well able to remember the number of children they had borne. It appears likely that the discrepancies between reported parities and registered statistics in previous studies are the result of cultural misunderstandings in questionnaires, or perhaps sample decay, rather than of women's memory loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-232
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Biology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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