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Published on 20 Apr 2011
GGRC02 Reading Notes Week 3
Newbold Chp 4
-population size and growth determined by combined effects of fertility and mortality
-highest rates of fertility in sub-Saharan Africa, lowest in Eastern Europe
-Demographic transition theory marks transition from high to low mortality and fertility, along with pop
explosion as life expectancy and mortality rates improved.
-Occurred in Europe and N. America in 19th-early 20th century
-many developing countries experienced mortality decline starting 1950s, with others still having
high fertility rates.
What determines fertility?
-due to high death rates, families were large. Cultural practices included early marriage (under 20), and no
contraceptive use (it was an offense). To stay single was a disgrace, divorce was a sin
-fecundity: physiological ability of individuals to have children
-less evident are social dimensions which work to keep fertility below maximum level (economic issues,
government, institutions)
-cultural values regarding family size and gendered social roles alter fertility and timing of fertility
-4 variables that explains fertility variation
1)proportion married or in sexual unions: marriage is an institution that promotes fertility. The
longer a woman waits to enter a sexual union, the lower the fertility. Women who marry at
younger age have higher fertility. Previously, age at marriage and age at first sexual union were
the same, but modern birth control use and acceptance of premarital sex changed this
2)proportion using contraceptives: contraceptive use and abortion are key determinants of
Contraceptive use varies over space (lowest in developing world). Lower levels of contraceptive
use due to religious beliefs or societal values. Women in developed countries use birth control in
their late teens to delay childbearing, and following child birth to have desired spacing. Women
in developing world use contraceptives after the desired family size is achieved.
3)abortion: one of the most common forms of birth control in the world, and assumed to be the
reason behind low birth rates in developed world. Highest rates of abortion in Eastern Europe
and central Asia, with 45/100 in Russia because access to abortion easier than access to
4)inability to conceive is due to voluntary or involuntary fecundity. Breast-feeding reduces risk of
pregnancy for 21 months after childbirth. With modernization, breastfeeding may decrease, which
is concerning in developing world that lacks contraceptives. Sterilization lowers fertility.
-What determines the social forces that mould fertility choices?
-both rooted within demographic transition theory, where fertility decline is due to
societal changes caused by industrialization and urbanization.
-with mortality decline and better economic opportunities, more people will survive into
their reproductive years, which results in fertility decline. With urbanization and
viewed as an asset (labour and income), instead they were invested in.
-³6XSSO\DQGGHPDQG´ (neoclassical): fertility choice seen as an outcome of calculation of
costs/benefits of fertility, associated with cultural and household expectation. Balance of potential
supply of children and demand for surviving children.
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