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July 20, 1970

Large Families: For MDs Only?

JAMA. 1970;213(3):454. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170290050010

Darney1 reports the attitudes of married college students and married third-year medical students in San Francisco toward family planning and the population problem. From lists provided by the schools, 20 married couples from each school were selected at random for interview during August and September 1968. Husbands and wives were questioned separately, usually by different interviewers, a man for the husband, a woman for the wife.

All the college couples had children, while only two of the medical couples were so blessed. Although both groups agreed that two or three children would be the ideal number for the average American family, ten of the 20 medical couples opted for four children for themselves. Whereas the college couples more often cited economic factors for limiting family size (their expectation of annual income in 1978 was $10,000 less than that of medical couples), medical husbands and wives spoke of the population problem.