Volume 52, Part 2, 1998

Authors Jennifer S Barber and William G Axinn
The impact of parental pressure for grandchildren on young people's entry into cohabitation and marriage

This paper examines the influence of parental preferences for grandchildren on young adults' entry into cohabitation and marriage. We also consider the influence of young adults' own fertility preferences on their cohabitation and marriage behaviour and marriage behaviour. We develop a theoretical framework explaining why these childbearing attitudes influence young people's cohabitation and marriage behaviour.

The results show that childbearing preferences of young women and their mothers affect their choice between cohabitation and marriage, so that wanting many children increases the likelihood of choosing marriage. Young men whose mothers want them to have many children enter any type of co-residential union, either marriage or cohabitation, at a much higher rate than men whose mothers want them to have fewer children.

Our results also provide insights into the childbearing behaviour of cohabiting couples.
pp. 129-144

Authors Ian M Timaeus and Angela Reynar
Polygynists and their wives in sub-Saharan Africa: an analysis of five demographic and health surveys

Differential polygyny in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia is investigated using individual-level Demographic and Health Surveys data. As well as contrasting polygynists' first wives with women in monogamous unions, the analysis distinguishes higher-order wives from first wives.

This permits study of the determinants of the prevalence and intensity of polygyny respectively. Polygyny and other aspects of marriage interlock in very similar ways in all five countries. Individuals' experience of polygyny tends to reflect their luck in the marriage market rather than their socio-economic characteristics.

While polygyny is less prevalent in urban areas, other socio-economic factors are important only in Kenya and Zambia, the two countries where less than 25 per cent of married women are in polygynous unions. The prevalence and intensity of polygyny are negatively associated. Thus, any drop in the prevalence of polygyny in Africa may be accompanied by a rise in the number of wives per polygynist.
pp. 145-162

Authors Heather Juby and Céline Le Bourdais
The changing context of fatherhood in Canada: a life course analysis

Current sociological research acknowledges the growing complexity of fatherhood and the widening divide observed between men's conjugal and parental careers.

Little is known, however, of the importance of these changes in the population at large. What proportion of men, for example, continue to experience fatherhood within a single durable relationship? How many have to reassess their role at its collapse? To what extent do men have to juggle different paternal roles simultaneously or live through a series of episodes as a father, and how is this diversity of experience evolving from one generation to another? In this paper we attempt to answer some of these questions, using multiple-decrement life table techniques to analyse retrospective data concerning the conjugal and parental histories of Canadian men.

Our analysis reveals the extent and speed of the paternal life course transformation, and suggests that this will continue at least in the mid-term.
pp. 163-175

Author Michael Anderson
Title Highly restricted fertility: very small families in the British fertility decline

From the earliest stages of the British fertility decline, falling mean family size was accompanied by marked rises in the proportion of married women who remained childless or who bore only a single child. This paper summarises those changes, their impact on average family size, and the implications for estimates of the proportions of couples who attempted to space their children in the early years of marriage.

The explanatory power of some commonly cited interpretations of the general decline in marital fertility is then considered in the context of this growth in number of families of highly restricted fertility. The paper highlights a need for more emphasis on descriptive and analytical approaches that are sensitive to distributions within populations.

Also emphasised is the importance of developing interpretations that allow for the possibility that different factors may operate on different sub-sets of families at different points in time.
pp. 177-199

Author Sajeda Amin
Family structure and change in rural Bangladesh

This analysis uses data from an intensive village study to investigate whether rising landlessness leads to increasing fragmentation and nucleation of families in rural Bangladesh. It was found that, even after rapid fertility decline, the elderly and women continue to rely extensively on family support. Although landlessness puts stress on intergenerational relations, a favourably low dependency ratio (elders to sons), brought about by the child-mortality decline of the 1950s and 1960s, has allowed the burden to be spread over larger numbers of sons than were previously available.

A persistence of traditional living arrangements, in which sons form their own households in the homesteads of their fathers, also contributes to retarding the process of family disintegration that is likely to be caused when farm size decreases and the role of the farm economy in a traditional peasant society diminishes.
pp. 201-213

Author Nicky Hart
Title Beyond infant mortality: gender and stillbirth in reproductive mortality before the twentieth century

Though it has been the largest component of reproductive mortality since its statutory registration in 1928, stillbirth has received little attention from historical demographers, who have relied on the more orthodox indicator of early human survival changes - 'infant mortality'. The exclusion of stillbirth hampers demographic analysis, underestimates progress in newborn vitality, and over-privileges post-natal causes in theoretical explanation. A case is made for estimating stillbirth before 1928 as a ratio of early neonatal death, and for employing perinatal mortality as an historical indicator of female health status.

The long-run trend of reproductive mortality (encompassing mature foetal and live born infant death during the first eleven months) reveals a substantial decline in perinatal causes in the first industrial century (1750-1850), implying a major concurrent improvement in the nutritional status of child bearers. Reproductive mortality is a more complete indicator of death in infancy. It offers demographers a means of fracturing the fertility versus mortality dualism and a potential purchase on gender as a demographic variable, while re-opening the case on mortality in the demographic dynamic of the world we have lost.
pp. 215-229

Authors Guido Pinto Aguirre, Alberto Palloni and Robert E Jones
Effects of lactation on post-partum amenorrhoea: Re-estimation using data from a longitudinal study in Guatemala

In this paper we re-estimate the effects of breastfeeding patterns on the timing of resumption of menses after controlling for maternal nutrition and maternal stressor variables. The analysis shows that simple hazard models, used on data from a longitudinal study in Guatemala, provide estimates of effects on timing of resumption of menstruation that are (a) comparable to others discussed in the recent literature and (b) generally consistent with hypotheses relating patterns of lactation, maternal nutritional status, and maternal stressors to processes that accelerate (decelerate) resumption of anovulatory cycles.
pp. 231-248