The Fertility Transition in Latin America

By JosÉ Miguel GuzmÁn; Susheela Singh et al. | Go to book overview
an unexpected pattern of behaviour in the initial phase of family formation: there has been an increase in the proportions of women who proceed from union to the first birth. This rise, found in every country, could be explained by a reduction in biological sterility. In the other phases of the life cycle, there have been changes at almost all birth-intervals, as couples adopt new norms of smaller family sizes. It is interesting that Colombia, a country that was already in a fairly advanced stage of the transition by 1977, is still the country showing the most rapid changes over time. This finding, and the way in which changes at each birth-interval are occurring, support the hypothesis that modifications in family formation will continue to be profound in Colombia, even at parities as low as the second child.Contraceptive use and educational level are the intermediate variable and the social determinant to which most changes in fertility have generally been attributed. In this sense, our results indicate that patterns of contraception are indeed associated with the gradual changes taking place in each country's fertility transition. However, in the countries studied here, no clear association has been established between high educational levels and small family size. These findings allow one to speculate about the separation that is taking place between the social determinants of fertility and the intermediate variables. It appears that some of these variables, especially contraceptive use, are becoming increasingly independent of women's educational levels and their interrelationship with the internal dynamics of the family formation process. A deeper study of these trends would require a more detailed analysis of each country.
References
Arruda, J. M., Rutenberg N., Morris, L., and Ferraz, E. A. ( 1987), Pesquisa Nacional sobre Saude Materno-Infantil e Planejamento Familiar PNSMIPF-Brasil, 1986 ( Rio de Janeiro: Sociedade Civil Bem-Estar Familiar no Brasil (BEMFAM), Instituto para Desenvolvimento de Recursos (IRD)).
Brass, W, and Juárez, F. ( 1983), "'Censored Cohort Parity Progression Ratios from Birth Histories'", Asian and Pacific Census Forum, 10/ 1: 5-13.
CCRP ( 1988), Colombia, Encuesta de Prevalencia, Demografía y Salud 1986 ( Columbia, Md.: Corporación Centro Regional de Población, Ministerio de Salud de Colombia and DHS, Institute for Resource Development, Macro Systems, Inc.).
CEPAR ( 1988), Ecuador, Encuesta Demográfica y de Salud Familiar 1987 ( Columbia, Md.: Centro de Estudios de Población y Paternidad Responsable, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Nutricionales y Médico Sociales and DHS, Institute for Resource Development, Macro Systems, Inc.).
Dyson, T., and Murphy, M. ( 1985), "'The Onset of Fertility Transition'", Population and Development Review, 1 1/3: 399-440.
Goldman, N., Moreno, L., and Westoff, C. ( 1989), Peru, Experimental Study: An Evaluation of Fertility and Child Health Information ( Columbia, Md.: Office of Population Research, Princeton University and Demographic and Health Surveys, Institute for Resource Development, Macro Systems, Inc.).

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