|Country||ASFR 15-19||Change explained (%)|
|Note: * = Absolute change in the teenage fertility rate lower than 5.|
This chapter examined the role of marriage patterns in the fertility transition in Latin America. The evidence from census data refutes the expectation that, in the region as a whole, the role of nuptiality has been meaningful. There are, of course, a few countries where nuptiality has been an important factor for TFR decline, as in the case of the Dominican Republic. There are also countries, such as El Salvador, where increases in marriage prevented important TFR declines. But the most compelling evidence comes from the cases of rapid fertility decline, i.e. from Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, and Mexico, where nuptiality made only modest, if any, contributions.
The former conclusion has to be qualified when one speaks about teenage fertility. Changes in the proportion of teenagers in union in the 1960s caused, indeed, important reductions in teenage fertility in eight Latin American countries.
Prior to the onset of fertility transition, a clear regional increase in the proportion married took place, some of it probably caused by a reduction in widowhood. This trend translated in TFR increases of some significance in three countries. Dyson and Murphy ( 1985) have used some of this evidence to document their 'ski jump effect', which, they suggest, might trigger fertility transition.
The lack of identifiable regional upward trends in the age at marriage is a striking result of this analysis. This result is in accord with findings from the WFS that explicitly pointed out that 'in the Americas there is only a modest trend towards later marriage' ( WFS 1984: 14). Contrasting with this stability, celibacy clearly