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Submitted: 16 May 2007 Modified: 10 July 2012
HERDIN Record #: PCHRDPC940906

Fertility transition in Asia.

 Casterline JB

The fertility transition in Asia is characterized for east, southeast, and south Asian countries based on international statistical sources. The patterns of change were variable by country, with declines appearing first in east Asia and Sri Lanka during the 1950s. Southeast Asia followed in the 1960s and south Asia in the 1970s. Pakistan has not shown declines. There is a diversity of reproductive patterns, with the range at the time of transition of 5-7 children. Mean duration of breast feeding, mean age at marriage, and postpartum restraints vary between and within countries. Although modern contraception has been a major contributor to fertility decline, nuptiality changes have also significantly affected fertility. Examples are given that show Taiwans (1955-76) declines attributed to nuptiality for 34%, and marital fertility 81% and a negative interaction effect of -15%. In Korea, 1960-75, nuptiality accounts for 26% and marital fertility 74%. Thailands declines between 1968 and 1978 are attributed to nuptiality 16%, contraception 90%, abortion 22%, postpartum -19%, other -4%, and interaction -5%. In the Philippines, nuptiality accounts for 34% while contraception 71%, postpartum -10%, and other factors 5% between 1973 and 1977, and 1983 and 1987. Between 1975 and 1985 in Bangladesh, fertility decline is decomposed to nuptiality 22%, contraception 75%, postpartum 4%, and other -1%. The negative factors such as postpartum, which is considered among proximate determinants, refer to breast feeding changes which have not contributed to declines. The declines in breast feeding incidence and duration need not be associated with fertility transition, and long breast feeding intervals are compatible with low fertility. The social setting for transition is described in terms of the demographic structure and economic development status and the economic and social systems. Asia is a mix of transitions, occurring both with and without modernization, which is indicated by example. However, it may be that in spite of the socioeconomic differences, households are similar in their motives for decision making about reproduction: children are costly. There is no evidence to suggest that African countries are not modernized enough to effect major fertility decline. Social structure in Asia may be unrelated to fertility decline. National governments have all played a major role in supporting family planning. Multiple factors characterize the Asian experience

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