Volume 55, Part 2, 2001

Author Oystein Kravdal 
Has population growth restricted improvements in food availability per head, 1970-95?

Using data from the Food and Agricultural Organization and some other sources, it was estimated that rapid growth in countries with an initial average calorie availability of below 2.800 per head inhibited improvements in food production and availability per head during the 1980s and early 1990s.

There were statistically significant negative effects of population growth on the growth in the production of noncereal food crops, milk, and meat, and in total food production. Because net food imports and aid shipments of cereals responded similarly, rather than acting as compensatory factors, the development in total calorie availability per head was least satisfactory in countries with the most rapid growth. A rapid increase in the number of adults of working age appeared to be no less disadvantageous than an increase in the number of children or elderly. Weaker effects were found when the entire 1970-95 period was considered.

There were few indications that poverty, illiteracy, or land or water scarcity made it particularly difficult to cope with growing population.
pp. 105-117

Authors Marika Jalovaara  
Socio-economic status and divorce in first marriages in Finland 1991-93

Various studies report an inverse association between socio-economic status and the risk of marital disruption. Using register-based follow-up data on first marriages in Finland intact at the end of 1990 and divorces in 1991-93 (n=21 309), this study aimed at gaining a better understanding of socio-economic differentials in divorce risk by disentangling the influences of various aspects of the socio-economic status of the spouses.

Indicators of socio-economic status include each spouse's education, occupational class, economic activity, and income as well as housing tenure and housing density. When examined individually, divorce risk was inversely associated with socio-economic status for all its various indicators except wife's income. All of these factors had an independent effect on divorce risk.

The effect was, however, weak for the spouses' occupational rankings and housing density, and it was positive for the wife's income. Given the multifaceted nature of these socio-economic differentials, it appears unlikely that one single explanation could account for them all.
pp. 119-133

Author Victor Agadjanian
Religion, social milieu, and the contraceptive revolution

This study examines how the social environment of religious congregations affects the spread of contraceptive use in developing contexts, using Mozambique as a case study. Analysis of qualitative data collected in urban areas of that country in 1998-99 and of the data from the 1997 Mozambique Demographic and Health Survey suggests that, in urban areas, the environment of more socioculturally diverse and inclusive Roman Catholic and mission-based Protestant congregations is more propitious to the spread and legitimisation of modern contraception than the milieu of smaller, relatively homogeneous, independent churches. In rural areas, however, sociocultural diversity within and across different religious denominations is minimal, and membership in any formal congregation offers an advantage in contraceptive learning.
pp. 135-148

Author Nico Keilman
Data quality and accuracy of United Nations population projections, 1950-95

Between 1951 and 1998, the United Nations (UN) published 16 sets of population projections for the world, its major regions, and countries, This paper reports the accuracy of the projection results.

I analyse the quality of the historical data used for the base populations of the projections, and for extrapolating fertility and mortality. I study also the impact this quality has had on the accuracy of the projection results. Results and assumptions for the sets of projections are compared with corresponding estimates from the UN 1998 Revision for total fertility and life expectancy at birth, total population, and the projected age structures.

The report covers seven major regions (Africa, Asia, the former USSR, Europe, Northern America, Latin America, and Oceania) and the largest ten countries of the world as of 1998 (China, India, the USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, Japan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria).
pp. 149-164

Authors Stan Becker and Saiffuddin Ahmed
Dynamics of contraceptive use and breastfeeding during the post-partum period in Peru and Indonesia

This paper examines the interaction between contraceptive use and breastfeeding in relation to resumption of intercourse and duration of amenorrhea post-partum. We used data from the month-by-month calendar of reproductive events from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in Peru and Indonesia. The analyses show that breastfeeding women were less likely than non-breastfeeding women to have resumed sexual intercourse in the early months post-partum in both countries. In Peru, but not in Indonesia, breastfeeding women had a significantly lower odds than non-breastfeeding women of adopting contraception.

Although the likelihood of contraceptive adoption was highest in the month women resumed menstruation in both countries, about ten per cent of subsequent pregnancies occurred to women before they resumed menses.

These results emphasise the importance of integrating breastfeeding counselling and family planning services in programmes serving post-partum women, as a means of enabling those who wish to space their next birth to avoid exposure to the risk of pregnancy that may precede the return of menses.
pp. 165-179

Author Zhongwei Zhao
Chinese genealogies as a source of demographic research: A further assessment of their reliability and biases.

Genealogy is the written record of family or lineage members descended from a common ancestor or ancestors. These materials have long been used by demographers in their investigation of past demographic behaviour. Most available genealogies, however, are the records of members of surviving patrilineages.

Among the many reasons why these patrilineages have avoided extinction is the fact that they have usually experienced favourable demographic conditions. In consequence, their genealogies could be a biased data source if used in the study of the history of the whole population.

This paper examines this issue, using evidence on the historical experience of the Chinese population and computer micro-simulation.
pp. 181-193

Authors F Nii-Amoo Dodoo, Alex C Ezeh and Tom O Owuor
Some evidence against the assumption that approval of family planning is associated with frequency of spouses' discussion of the subject

Much previous work on the relationship between respondents reported frequency of discussion with spouses about family planning and correctness of reporting spouses' approval of family planning has led to the conclusion that discussion promotes approval.

In this paper, data from the Kenya Demographic and Health Surveys are used to show that a focus of the relationship between frequency of discussion and correctness of reporting partners' disapproval of family planning leads to sceptical conclusions about the effects of discussion in improving knowledge of partners' attitude or in promoting approval.
pp. 195-198