Television and Fertility

  • Stuart Basten


Much research has been conducted in the field of utilising the media - television
and radio in particular - to promote particular public health messages. However, a
burgeoning canon has examined how mass media can play a role in affecting change
in fertility preferences and outcomes. In this paper we review these researches which
have primarily focussed upon higher fertility settings. The impact of mass media
presentation of families and children in low fertility settings has not yet been subject
to rigorous sociological investigation so its impact can not be accurately inferred.
However, given the pervasive nature of mass media and celebrity culture, we suggest
that this is an important avenue for future research. We conclude that television plays
a multi-faceted role in shaping individuals decision-making procedures concerning
both demographic events and public health interactions. To illustrate this, we present
a model which demonstrates a sliding scale of intent - but not impact - of various
genres in order to understand the actual role of the media in shaping attitudes towards
family size - either explicitly in terms of edutainment or implicitly as a forms of

Keywords: mass media, television, public health, fertility, family size
How to Cite
Basten, S. (1). Television and Fertility. Finnish Yearbook of Population Research, 45, 67-82. Retrieved from