The Fertility Transition in Latin America

By JosÉ Miguel GuzmÁn; Susheela Singh et al. | Go to book overview
component. It should also be noted that while demographic growth differs across regions, the new technological base on which the economy will become developed also differs by region. Thus it is probable that the more advanced area such as the state of São Paulo--will attract proportionately more labour, reinforcing a migratory flow which seemed to have weakened in the 1970s ( Giraidelli 1989). It is probable that the rate of outmigration from the stagnant areas, including their urban centres, will exceed any so far experienced in the country.This trend may be seen as neutral--or even positive--to the extent to which the population becomes concentrated in the richer areas and possibly begins to benefit from a better standard of living. However, it should be kept in mind that throughout the whole history of the Third World, increasing concentration in the great urban centres has always meant reduced living standards for the least favoured sectors. As a result, it is clear that there are political costs which merit reflection, so that regional development strategies may be defined to achieve those goals which are considered desirable.If the target populations of the various social policies are already reasonably well defined up to at least the year 2000 for the country as a whole, the same is not true when they are analysed from the regional and/or local point of view. Migration, combined with low natural growth, will make the margin of reliability of population estimates and projections increasingly variable as one descends from the national to the local level. This paradox demands long-range planning, combined with a flexible process at the regional or local level, which will require continuous evaluation of the situation and adjustment of the policies adopted.
Conclusions
The following conclusions may be drawn:
Brazilian fertility, with a TFR ranging around 3.5, is undoubtedly situated at present at low levels, taking into account that the country is underdeveloped.
The fertility decline has been associated with the social and economic transformations which the country has been undergoing. These transformations include industrialization and urbanization, which brought modernization to the country, in such a way that their development connotations took a 'perverse' path that is different from what was expected, in terms of the welfare and progress of the population. Thus, for example, while the growth of the secondary and tertiary sectors, a sign of accelerated urbanization, signified on the one hand an extended transportation and communications network, more technology, access to durable and semi-durable go ods, access to education, etc., on the other hand it also lowered the quality of health services, and increased overcrowding, environmental pollution, peripheral and marginalized neighbourhoods, promiscuity, etc. in the urban population. The deterioration was so great that it went beyond the lower classes and reached the remaining sectors of

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