Human Fertility in Latin America: Sociological Perspectives

By J. Mayone Stycos | Go to book overview

14
Culture and Differential Fertility in Peru

This chapter analyzes regional data on human fertility from the 1940 Census of Peru. The reasons for dealing with information collected over two decades ago are several. First, scholars have never exploited these data. Second, since no other census was taken until 1961, the imminent availability of both new census data and a sample survey of fertility conducted in 1961 enhances the importance of the 1940 information for comparative purposes. Third, and of immediate concern, is to determine whether or not fertility differentials in Peru were apparent as early as 1940, and, if so, to discover which social characteristics were related to such differentials.

The 1940 Census of Peru presented a considerable number of breakdowns for the 23 departments, and a lesser number of breakdowns for the 120 provinces. The present analysis required initially the computation of a variety of social and demographic characteristics for each province and department. The only fertility measure available for provinces was the child- woman ratio, and, because of the system of age grouping used in the Peruvian census, the ratio was computed as number of children under six years of age per 100 women, aged 20-59.

This crude measure shows considerable regional variation. Lima's ratio is exceeded by 39 percent by the rest of the nation. For the 22 departments,1 the range is 67 to 113, with a median

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1
One department with only 813 mated women recorded has been excluded from the present analysis (Madre de Dios).

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