Volume 52, Part 3, 1998

Author David P Lindstrom
The role of contraceptive supply and demand in Mexican fertility decline: evidence from a microdemographic study

This paper uses retrospective life history data to assess the impact of family planning services on contraceptive use in a rural Mexican township. Between 1960 and 1990 contraceptive use rose and fertility declined dramatically. Both contraceptive supply and demand factors were influential in these trends. The start of the government-sponsored family planning programme in the late 1970s was associated with a sharp rise in female sterilisation and use of the intrauterine device (IUD).

However, once we controlled for the changing socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the sample, the presence of family planning services had no significant effect on the likelihood that women used modern reversible methods compared to traditional methods. Men and women expressed concern about the safety of modern methods such as the pill and the intrauterine device (IUD).

Efforts to increase modern contraceptive use should place greater emphasis on communicating the safety of these methods and improving the quality of services.
pp. 255-274

Authors Michael Bracher and Gigi Santow
Economic independence and union formation in Sweden

Although sociologists, demographers, and economists are generally agreed that economic independence enhances the likelihood that men will marry, there is disagreement concerning its effect on women. The view that economic independence weakens women's incentive to marry has probably been the most influential, although it has been subjected to few rigorous empirical tests with individual-level data.

In the present paper we examine the predictors forming a first cohabiting union, of progressing from this union to marriage, and of marrying without previously cohabiting by applying hazard regression to event-history data from the 1992 Swedish Family Survey, supplemented by earnings data extracted from the national taxation register.

We test a battery of measures that reflect people's past, current, and potential attachment to the labour market. We find that the correlates of union formation for women are largely indistinguishable from the correlates of union formation for men, and that far from being less likely than other women to cohabit or to marry, women with a greater degree of economic self-sufficiency are more likely to do so.
pp. 275-294

Authors Robert Schoen and Young J Kim
Momentum under a gradual approach to zero growth

A population's growth potential is significantly underestimated by conventional calculations of population momentum which assume an immediate drop to replacement level fertility.

Here we assume that the growth rate of births linearly declines to zero over a specified time interval, and find simple and intuitively meaningful expressions for the size of the ultimate birth cohort and the resultant population momentum. In particular, we find that the increase in the number of births over the transition is equal to growth at the initial rate for half the time needed to attain a constant birth level.

Thus our formula calculates the growth potential of a population under a gradual approach to stationarity without the need for a numerical projection. Calculations for actual and hypothetical populations are presented to show the demographic impact of such gradual approaches to zero growth.
pp. 295-299

Authors Fred Arnold, Minja Kim Choe and TK Roy
Son preference, the family building process and child mortality in India

India is a country with a pervasive preference for sons and one of the highest levels of excess child mortality for girls in the world (child mortality for girls exceeds child mortality for boys by 43 per cent). In this article, data from the National Family Health Survey are used to examine the effect of son preference on parity progression and ultimately on child mortality.

The demographic effects of family composition are estimated with hazard models. The analyses indicate that son preference fundamentally affects demographic behaviour in India. Family composition affects fertility behaviour in every state examined and son preference is the predominant influence in all but one of these states.

The effects of family composition on excess child mortality for girls are more complex, but girls with older sisters are often subject to the highest risk of mortality.
pp. 301-315

Authors Ulla Larsen, Woojin Chung and Monica Das Gupta
Fertility and son preference in Korea

In Korea, total fertility declined from 6.0 in 1960 to 1.6 in 1990, in spite of a strong preference for male offspring. T

his paper addresses the notion that son preference hinders fertility decline, and examines the effects of patriarchal relations and modernisation on fertility using the 1991 Korea National Fertility and Family Health Survey. It was found that women who have a son are less likely to have another child, and that women with a son who do progress to have another child, take longer to conceive the subsequent child. This pattern prevailed for women of parity one, two, and three, and became more pronounced with higher parity.

A multivariate analysis showed that preference for male offspring, patriarchy, and modernisation are all strong predictors of second, third, and fourth conceptions.
pp. 317-325

Authors David J Lunn, Stephen N Simpson, Ian Diamond and Liz Middleton
The accuracy of age-specific population estimates for small areas in Britain

Population estimates play an important role in the allocation of resources at many levels of government and commerce but little is known about the accuracy of age-specific population estimates. Such knowledge is crucial, as resource allocation is often targeted at populations of particular age, and decisions need to be based on the reliability of the estimates.

This paper is a multi-level statistical analysis of the accuracy of age-specific population estimates made for British local authorities in 1991. The aim of this work is to identify the factors that influence accuracy, and to investigate how these influences interact. Our analyses show that the following area characteristics are key factors: true population size, intercensal population change, and percentages of unemployed residents, armed forces residents, and students. In addition, we find that the overall type of method used to calculate estimates is important, and that its effect varies both with area characteristics and with age-group.

Local census methods are found to be generally superior, but a low-cost apportionment method, if implemented well, may be as effective.
pp. 327-344

Authors Chai Bin Park, Mohamed Ataharul Islam, Nitai Chakraborty and Andrew Kantner
Partitioning the effect of infant and child death on subsequent fertility: an exploration in Bangladesh

A method of partitioning the fertility impact of infant and child death into two components - a physiological and a behavioural effect - is proposed by use of the Cox hazard model with three dummy variables that indicate the time of child death and the status of breastfeeding with reference to the return of menstruation postpartum.

An application of the method of the 1991 Bangladesh Contraceptive Prevalence Survey data suggests that the effect from the physiological mechanism outweighed the effect from the behavioural mechanism (the former effect raising the hazard of an additional birth by nearly 90 per cent).

It appears that the effect of a child death declined over time and an early cessation of breastfeeding was not the sole cause for invoking the physiological mechanism. The risk of childbirth rose sharply among the educated if their children died, although the main effect of education itself was to reduce the risk.
pp. 345-356

Author Steven L Hoch
Famine, disease, and mortality patterns in the parish of Borshevka, Russia, 1830-1912

Scholars have projected a dismal image of nineteenth-century, rural Russia as a society repeatedly punctuated by crop failures, famine, starvation, and epidemics of famine-related diseases. But there has been no rigorous attempt, using appropriate methods, to assess the nature of demographic crises in Russia and their contribution to overall mortality and population growth.

The pattern of mortality evident in the parish under examination is distinguished by an extremely high incidence of infant, diarrhoeal diseases and childhood, infectious diseases. This unfavourable disease environment and resulting high rates of infant and early childhood mortality were more closely related to fertility levels, household size, housing conditions, and weaning practices than to annual or seasonal food availability and the nutritional status of the population.

In a disease-driven society, the susceptibility to infection and the force of infection can, to a considerable extent, be determined by demographic factors, familial norms, and climatic constraints.
pp. 357-368