The Fertility Transition in Latin America

By José Miguel Guzmán; Susheela Singh et al. | Go to book overview
survey. These forecasts imply further reductions in the TFR across a range from nearly 10 to nearly 30 per cent.
Appendix 13.1
Reliance on the proportion of women who report wanting no more births presumes that such measures of reproductive preference are valid predictors of fertility Not all demographers have been convinced of this ( Demeny 1988; Hauser 1967). It therefore seemed timely to evaluate the validity of reproductive intentions, a study that has recently been completed ( Westoff 1990). We review the general results here.Unlike earlier research on this topic, the basic strategy was to estimate the association between the proportion of women who want no more births and the TFR rate rather than focusing on how consistent the fertility of individual women is with their intentions. The aggregate level seems the appropriate one considering that our interest is the demographic objective of predicting fertility rates rather than in individual behaviour.Data on intentions, contraceptive prevalence, and fertility rates were assembled for 134 surveys for 87 mostly national populations. The proportion of the variance of TFRs across these populations associated with the proportion who want no more children was 0.76. The corresponding R2 between intentions and contraceptive prevalence rates (the mechanism intervening between intentions and fertility) was 0.78, while the R2 between prevalence and the TFR was 0.91. To reduce the ambiguity inherent in a cross-sectional analysis, where fertility may be determining intentions (rather than the more plausible reverse sequence), we followed two strategies using the subset of countries that had data for two points in time (either two surveys or a survey and an estimate of the TFR from another source for a later time period). In the first analysis we correlated reproductive intentions at the time of the first survey with fertility rates 2.5 to 5 years later, and found an R2 of 0.71. In the second analysis, designed to further reduce the ambiguity of interpretation, we controlled for initial parity; the proportion who wanted no more children among women with two children at the time of the first survey explained 80 per cent of the variance in fertility rates at the later time period. From these and from other similar analyses, the conclusion was reached that the measurement of reproductive intentions has a high level of aggregate validity. For further details see Westoff ( 1990).
References
Bongaarts, J. ( 1990), "'The Measurement of Wanted Fertility'", Population and Development Review 16/ 3:487-506.
Demeny, P. ( 1988), "'Social Science and Population Policy'", Population and Development Review 14/ 3: 451-79.
Hauser, P. M. ( 1967), "'Family Planning and Population Programs: A Book Review Article'", Demography 4/ 1: 397-414.
Lightbourne, R. E. ( 1985), "'Desired Number of Births and Prospects for Fertility Decline in 40 Countries'", International Family Planning Perspectives, 11/ 2: 34-47.
----- ( 1987), "'Reproductive Preferences and Behavior'", in J. Cleland, J. C. Scott(eds.), TheWorld Fertility Survey: An Assessment

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