Family and Fertility in Puerto Rico: A Study of the Lower Income Group

By J. Mayone Stycos | Go to book overview

X
Summary and Recommendations

While possessing a number of Old World characteristics, in the past half century Puerto Rico has changed from a largely static agricultural society to a more industrialized one of rapid change; from the undeveloped to the developing kind of economy described in Chapter I. As late as 1920, more than six out of every ten workers were engaged in agriculture; in 1952, less than four of every ten were so employed.1 The proportion living in cities has risen from 23 percent in 1910 to 40 percent in 1950. Emigration, which amounted to only 4,000 per year until 1945, has risen steadily since the war and has exceeded 50,000 per year since 1951.2 Literacy, only 33 percent in 1910, rose to 76 percent in 1950. Conditions for social mobility have become increasingly favorable as Puerto Rico has moved from the traditional toward the more secular type of society.

The birth rate of the Commonwealth, on the other hand, has shown only slight and recent tendencies toward decline. This fact, in the light of the island's low death rate, has produced great problems in the way of population increase. The present work has been concerned with providing some of the explanations of the Commonwealth's high fertility.

In Chapter I we suggested that the birth rate in any culture is affected by the prevalence of checks on sexual relations and conception or birth. In Puerto Rico, checks on coital frequency are not of special significance. Chaperonage and the tabus on premarital intercourse for women are insurance against conception before

____________________
1
A. Jaffe and L. de Ortiz, "The Human Resource-Puerto Rico's Working Force," mimeographed, San Juan, 1953.
2
C. Senior, "Migration and Puerto Rico's Population Problem," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, Vol. 285, Jan 1953.

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Family and Fertility in Puerto Rico: A Study of the Lower Income Group
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Tables xiii
  • Figures xvii
  • I- Introduction 3
  • II- Differential Status Ideologies of the Sexes 29
  • III- Child-Rearing Practices 37
  • Conclusions 58
  • IV- Courtship 60
  • Conclusions 85
  • V- Early Marriage and Consensual Union 87
  • Conclusions 120
  • VI- Marital Relations 122
  • VII- Attitudes toward Fertility- The Fertility Belief System 158
  • Summary 180
  • VIII- Attitudes toward Birth Control 182
  • IX- The Dynamics of Birth-Control Use 217
  • X- Summary and Recommendations 242
  • Concluding Remarks 254
  • Appendix A- Methodology 256
  • Appendix B- Respondent Characteristics 293
  • Appendix C- The Construction of Indices 297
  • Appendix D- Interview Forms 300
  • Appendix E- Categories for File Index of Selected Quotations 315
  • List of Works Cited 316
  • Index 323
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