The influence of government programs on the fertility of the poor: a comparison between Mexico and Brazil

Ernesto F. Amaral, University of Texas at Austin
Joseph E. Potter, University of Texas at Austin

Mexico and Brazil experienced a substantial decline in fertility rates during the last decades, although with distinct government roles in the promotion of family planning. Mexico has implemented a policy to reduce the rate of population growth and to promote family planning. In Brazil, the government played a much less prominent role in the supply of contraceptive services. Recently, some Brazilian journalists and policy-makers have suggested that the absence of family planning programs caused the development of large differentials between the fertility of upper and lower classes. In this paper, nearly identical microdata from 2000 Mexican and Brazilian Censuses are used to calculate the level of fertility, and to estimate the influence of government programs, using multilevel models that incorporate municipality and individual variables. Future work will be done using DHS from the last five years, comparing the analysis of Mexico and Brazil to Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, and Peru.

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Presented in Session 95: The demography of Latin America