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Pathways to Low Fertility: 50 Years of Limitation, Curtailment, and Postponement of Childbearing
Authors: Ian M. Timæus, and Tom A. Moultrie
Source: Demography, 57: 267–296; DOI: 10.1007/s13524-019-00848-5
Topic(s): Fertility
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: JAN 2020
Abstract: This study applies survival analysis to the birth histories from 317 national surveys to model pathways to low fertility in 83 less-developed countries between 1965 and 2014. It presents period measures of parity progression, the length of birth intervals and total fertility that have been standardized fully for age, parity, and interval duration. It also examines parity-specific trends in the proportion of women who want no more children. Outside sub-Saharan Africa, fertility transition was dominated by parity-specific family size limitation. As the transition progressed, women also began to postpone their next birth for lengthy periods in many countries. During the first half of the fertility transition in much of sub-Saharan Africa and in some other countries, however, women stopped childbearing without targeting particular family sizes. Moreover, birth intervals in sub-Saharan Africa have been lengthening since the onset of the transition. Birth control is not restricted to a dichotomy between limitation and spacing. Other reasons for curtailing childbearing and postponing having another birth also shape countries’ pathways through fertility transition.