The Fertility Transition in Latin America

By José Miguel Guzmán; Susheela Singh et al. | Go to book overview
the society, discouraging the raising of large families. This was an unexpected byproduct, which was never set out as a conscious government goal, nor systematically sought.
The undeniable reduction in fertility in this context appears today, not necessarily as a response to better living conditions, but as an adjustment strategy in the face of a new situation, of insecurity in the present and fear of the future.
The decline in fertility is no longer a transient phenomenon. There is now an irreversible process of transition to definitely low levels, which fits well with the phenomenon known conventionally to demographers as the 'demographic transition'.
The historical trend of fertility decline would certainly have continued whatever course development took; what however seems clear is that the extension in time, space and intensity of the socio-economic crisis, and the peculiar conditions of 'modernity' precipitated the declining trend, making the population wish to take short-cuts to arrive much more quickly at the replacement level.
The consequences of the extremely sharp reduction in fertility, since it is a phenomenon which has been going on for two decades, are now concrete facts. There have been profound changes in the age structure of the population, which in turn will have a major impact on general broad areas of national life. These include alterations in the organization of resources for survival, which have always been scarce in the Brazilian context, and which, if they were now given their proper priorities through responsible planning, could mean a leap towards more humane development.

References
Albuquerque, S. P. de L., and Duarte, F J. ( 1988), "'Pernambuco: A Queda da Fecundidade e as Demandas Sociais Básicas: 1980-2000'", in Encontro Nacional de Estudos Populacionais, 6, iv (Belo Horizonte: ABEP), 177-98.
Alencar, A. de A., Andrade, E. C. de ( 1989), "'A Esterilização Feminina no Brasil'", in Encontro Nacional de Economia, 17: 1051-79.
Arruda, J. M., Morris, L., Ferraz, E. A., Goldberg, H. ( 1987), "'Tendências Recentes da Fecundidade e do Planejamento Familiar no Nordeste: 1980-1986'", in Encontro Nacional de Estudos Populacionais, 6 ( São Paulo: ABEP), 111-36.
----- Rutenberg, N., Morris, L., Ferraz, E. A. ( 1987), Pesquiva Nacional Sobre Saude Materno-infantil e Planejamento Familiar (PNSMIPF), Brasil, 1986 ( Rio de Janeiro: BEMFAM).
Baer, W. ( 1979), The Brazilian Economy: its Growth and Development ( Columbus: Grid Publishers).
Berquò, E. ( 1980), "'Algumas Indagaçães sobre a Recente Queda da Fecundidade no Brasil'", Paper presented at Reunión del Grupo de Trabajo sobre el Proceso de Reproducción de la Población, Comisión de Población y Desarrollo, CLACSO, Teresópolis.
Bussamara, N., Lenir, M., and Leonor, P. ( 1965), "'Obituário Materno no Abortamento Criminoso'", Anais Brasileiros de Ginecologia, 59: 7-10.

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