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Asia-Pacific Population Journal

For over two decades, the Asia-Pacific Population Journal (APPJ) has been taking the pulse of population and social issues unfolding in the region. Published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), APPJ brings out high quality, evidence-based and forward-looking articles relevant for population policies and programmes in Asia and the Pacific. Prominent population experts, award-winning demographers, as well as lesser known researchers have been contributing articles, documenting over the years the evolution of thinking in this important sphere.

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Fertility decline in Asia: The role of marriage change

In current discussions of the fertility transition in Asia, the role of marriage change is frequently understated, because of the strong emphasis (perhaps flowing from the influence of the family planning movement) on marital fertility. Yet, since the time of Malthus, marriage change has been given strong attention in historical studies of fertility transition in Europe. In North-Western Europe, early in the twentieth century, non-marriage was a major factor affecting fertility. In some countries, the proportion of women remaining single at the end of their childbearing period reached 20 per cent (Hajnal, 1965; Therborn, 2004: 147-155). Such high levels of non-marriage did not always directly translate into lower fertility, because out-of-wedlock births were not uncommon; but they certainly played an important role in fertility decline.

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