Turkey underwent substantial social and economic changes in the last century, especially from 1950 onwards. Accordingly, the demographic characteristics of the country have changed in response to the socio-economic transformation process. As a result, starting from the second half of the previous century, Turkey experienced a serious fertility decline. Until the 1970s, the decline was gradual, but since that time the country has experienced a dramatic decline. During this process, the level of total period fertility declined from a level of 6 or 7 to a value near to replacement level by the end of the 1990s. Turkey is very close to completing its fertility transition. The indicators of fertility preferences have changed in parallel to this process. Since the beginning of 1990, two- to three-child family size norms have become widespread in Turkey.
In the literature, it is stated that the relationship of actual fertility and desired fertility changes according to what stage a society is at. While in the early stages of fertility transition fertility preferences are lower than actual fertility, actual fertility is lower than desired fertility in late and post-transition societies. Considering these discussions, the study first aims to evaluate the fertility transition process and changes in fertility preferences in Turkey. Second, as fertility transition hasn’t occurred simultaneously among subpopulation groups, the study aims to investigate the relationship between actual and desired fertility at the sub-population level.