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Melanie Channon and Yagya Karki

Fertility has declined rapidly in Nepal, with fertility now approaching replacement level. However, there is a great deal of ethnic and topographical diversity, with some urban districts experiencing lowest low fertility and some remote districts actually experiencing an increase in fertility between the last two censuses. Using Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data we find a two-child norm, with nearly two-thirds of women and men reporting that this is their ideal family size. We also find that one-child ideation has increased rapidly. Despite relatively low fertility, well over half of women and men aged over 35 had more children than their stated ideal. People who were less wealthy and less educated were more likely to exceed their ideal number of children. The perpetuation of son preference continues to have a substantial effect on fertility behaviour, which is reflected in the recent rise of sex-selective abortions as well as high levels of differential stopping behaviour.