The causes of stalling fertility transitions in the developing world

John Bongaarts, Population Council

Since the 1960s many developing countries have experienced rapid fertility declines. It is widely expected that countries that are currently still in transition will continue their declines until fertility also drops to or even below replacement. However, fertility in the late 1990s declined less rapidly then projected earlier in a number of countries and in a few cases fertility stalled in mid-transition (e.g. Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kenya, Turkey). This new phenomenon is examined through an analysis of the roles of different levels of explanatory variables ranging from the proximate determinants (e.g. use of contraception), demand for contraception, reproductive preferences (e.g. desired family size), socio-economic factors (e.g. education) and access to family planning. DHS surveys in 38 developing countries provide the data for this study. Preliminary results indicate that fertility preferences as well as the demand for and use of contraception show virtually no change in countries with stalling fertility.

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Presented in Session 41: Fertility decline: onset and stagnation