New Publication: Third-child fertility intention and its socioeconomic factors among women aged 20–34 years in China



The low birth rates and rapid population aging has drawn considerable attention in China. In 2021, China launched the policy and supportive measures that allow up to 3 children per couple. This study aims to explore the influencing factors of the third-child fertility intention among women aged 20–34 years in China.


We draw data from the National Fertility Survey conducted in 2017. The nationally representative survey adopts a stratified, 3-stage, and probabilities proportional to size sampling method. A total of 61,588 valid samples aged 20–34 years old were obtained. Fertility desire and behavior, childbearing and service use, and potential influencing factors of fertility intention such as the history of pregnancy were assessed.


In general, 5.01% of Chinese women of prime childbearing age had fertility intention for a third child, and the proportion varies by region across mainland China. Individual characteristics such as being ethnic minorities, being rural residents, and having more siblings are significantly positively correlated with the third-child fertility intention, while the intention was significantly lower among women with a higher income or education level, migrant women, and those engaged in the non-agricultural labor force. Women who already had a son had lower fertility intention for a third child. Moreover, it was the perceived acceptable costs of childcare services rather than the actual costs that mattered more for the fertility intention.


Our study concludes a series of socioeconomic factors, and previous childbearing and childrearing experiences are crucial for women’s fertility intention for a third child. These findings highlight the importance of launching supportive measures in addition to the introduction of the 3-child policy in promoting a fertility-friendly society.


  • Yang, Hanmo, Runlin Han, Zhenjie Wang. 2023. “Third-child fertility intention and its socioeconomic factors among women aged 20–34 years in China.” BMC Public Health 23:821. doi: 10.1186/s12889-023-15719-3