The Fertility Transition in Latin America

By José Miguel Guzmán; Susheela Singh et al. | Go to book overview
births by age of mother found in the different socio-economic groups, as well as the differences in the various data sources. Another important factor might be that, when women of reproductive age are interviewed, first-born children and those of young mothers belong preferentially to periods in which infant mortality was higher.Among the various methods available for measuring the impact of fertility decline on infant mortality, those that are based on changes in birth distribution (in terms of birth order, age of mother and spacing) seem to be the most appropriate. These techniques also make it possible to measure the interaction among the different factors, which has been quite considerable in studies based on vital statistics. It is also important to take into account the effect that fertility decline exerts on birth distributions among different socio-economic groups.The proportion of the decline in infant mortality that can be attributed to a reduction in fertility varies in different studies, but it seldom exceeds 30 per cent. While this may well be due to the fact that insufficient information is available to measure the entire effect of fertility decline, it should also be interpreted as suggesting that a number of other factors have an impact on levels and trends of infant mortality. Primary health care programmes, improved levels of education, urbanization, the availability of safe drinking water, and the more equitable distribution of income, among other factors, all strongly influence a population's health conditions and the probabilities of survival. This does not detract however from the importance of the beneficial effects that fertility decline appears to have on maternal and child health.
References
Acsadi Associates ( 1985), Family Planning and the Well-being of Women and Children ( London: International Planned Parenthood Federation).
Acsadi, G. T. F., and Johnson-Acsadi, G. ( 1986), Optimum Conditions for Childbearing ( London: International Planned Parenthood Federation).
Bongaarts, J. ( 1987). "'Does Family Planning Reduce Infant Mortality Rates?'", Population and Development Review, 13/ 2: 323-34.
Buchanan, R. ( 1976), Efecto de la Paridad en la Salud Materna (Informes Médicos Serie J, No. 8; Washington: George Washington University).
Desplanques, G. ( 1986), "'50 ans de fécondité en France: Rangs et intervalles entre naissances'", Population, 41/2): 233-58.
Hobcraft, J. N. ( 1987), "'Does Family Planning Save Children's Lives?'", Technical background paper prepared for the International Conference on Better Health for Women and Children through Family Planning, Nairobi, Kenya, 5-9 Oct., cited in Bongaarts ( 1987).
----- MacDonald, J. W, and Rutstein, S. O. ( 1983), "'Child-Spacing Effects on Infant and Early Childhood Mortality'", Population Index 49/4: 585-618.

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