Human Fertility and Population Problems: Proceedings of the Seminar Sponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

By Roy O. Greep; American Ethnological Society et al. | Go to book overview

CHANGING FERTILITY IN TAIWAN

RONALD FREEDMAN

Professor of Sociology and Director, University of Michigan Population Center.

TAIWAN is an especially interesting example of the developing areas in which fertility (demographers' definition) is high, because many of the conditions believed to be necessary for a fertility decline appear to be present there. In fact, a fertility decline has already begun in Taiwan. Its unusually good statistics, for an area of this kind, make it possible to observe this change as it occurs and to initiate experimental studies which may accelerate the changes under way.

If Taiwan is to be viewed as an example of a high fertility population, it is necessary first to sketch in broad terms the relevant characteristics of high fertility countries. This involves some very general ideas about the sociology of human fertility.1 Dr. Wyon has already covered this in part, and I will be poaching to some extent on the territory of Dr. Du Bois who will close the conference, but I need to say something about these general ideas so that the case of Taiwan may illustrate general principles.

First of all, high fertility and high mortality have gone together historically. It is still true that most high fertility countries have relatively high mortality. Low mortality in association with high

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1
For a much more complete treatment see the author's "The Sociology of Human Fertility" in Current Sociology, Vol. X/ XI No. 2, 1961-62, pp. 35-121.

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