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.


Influences of selected socio-economic and demographic variables on fertility in Bangladesh

Fertility in Bangladesh is high even by the standards of developing countries. Recent evidence suggests that fertility has started to decline in Bangladesh (Amin and others, 1993). The total fertility rate has declined from nearly seven births per woman in 1975 to about five births per women in 1989 and by 1990 this rate was well below five births (Cleland and others, 1994; Caldwell and Caldwell, 1992). A number of demographers have argued that the mechanism of this steep fertility decline was the consequence of a recent increase in contraceptive prevalence within marriage (Amin and others, 1990; Cleland and others, 1994; Cleland, 1993). In Indonesia, research suggests that fertility decline resulted mainly from a high rate of increased use of contraception which was induced primarily through economic development and an increasing rate of female education as well as greater work force participation (Gertler and Molyneaux, 1994). It is of great concern to policy makers to know the reasons why other socio-economic, demographic and cultural variables do not seem to contribute to a decline in fertility in Bangladesh. Such variables are important for a study of fertility; investigations are needed in order to produce findings. Reliable information about the factors influencing fertility is indispensable in the process of planning for the overall socioeconomic development of a developing country such as Bangladesh. Human fertility is the outcome of the function of a number of variables within a complex process. The mechanism of factors affecting fertility is that intermediate variables influence fertility directly, while socio-economic and environmental variables affect fertility indirectly through intermediate variables (see, for example, Davis and Blake, 1956; Bongaarts, 1978; Bongaarts and others, 1984). This study is an initial framework for the classification of variables to be analysed using the path analytical approach. In the context of Bangladesh, only a few studies, not all of them nationally representative, have been carried out to examine the effects of various factors on fertility (Ahmed, 1981; Rob and Kabir, 1988; Islam and Khan, 1991). These studies provide very useful information. Ahmed’s study was based on national data of the 1975 Bangladesh Fertility Survey and two other studies based on a micro-level study.


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