Volume 58, Part 1, 2004

Authors: Susan E. Short and Fengyu Zhang
Title: Use of maternal health services in rural China

We use data from the nationally representative 1997 Demographic and Reproductive Health Survey to examine use of maternity services in rural China. The data indicate that roughly 60 per cent of women had at least one prenatal visit, while 40 per cent had a professionally assisted birth over the period 1988-97. Despite China's shift from a more socialist to a more privatized health care system, use of maternity services increased over this period.

These increases are consistent with the push toward integration of reproductive health into family planning that emerged after the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development and the 1995 Fourth World Women's Conference held in Beijing. At the same time, we find indirect evidence that the target-based population policy may well have exerted downward pressure on use of maternity services; differences by parity are marked and multilevel models predicting use of maternity services indicate underdispersion at the individual level.

Keywords: Family Planning, One-child Policy, China, Prenatal Care, Maternity Services, Reproductive Health, Fertility, Health Utilization, Economic Reform
pp. 3-19

Authors: Jihong Liu, Ulla Larsen and Grace Wyshak
Title: Factors affecting adoption in China, 1950-87

Though adoption in China is known to have increased as more girls were abandoned and became available for adoption following the introduction of the country's one-child policy in the 1980s, little is known about Chinese adoption practices. This paper investigates the factors affecting adoption in China in the period 1950-87 using data from the National Two-Per-Thousand Sample Survey on Fertility and Contraception of 1988. The results show that the national adoption rate was 2.3 per cent. Childless women were more likely than women with children to adopt and did not show a sex preference. Women with children by birth used adoption to secure a child of the 'missing' sex. Women who had experienced the death of a child were more likely to adopt than those who had not. Women with children may have used adoption as a strategy to circumvent the strict family planning policies.

Keywords: Childlessness, Sex Preference, Family Planning Policy, Adoption, Child Mortality, Desired Family Size, Child Rearing
pp. 21-36

Authors: Zeng Yi and James W. Vaupel
Title: Association of late childbearing with healthy longevity among the oldest-old in China

Statistical analysis of a large and unique longitudinal data-set demonstrates that childbearing after age 35 or 40 is associated with survival and healthy survival among very old Chinese women and men. The association is stronger for women than for men. The estimates are adjusted for a variety of confounding factors: demographic characteristics, family support, social connections, health practices, and health conditions.

Further analysis based on an extension of the Fixed-Attributes Dynamics method shows that late childbearing is positively associated with long-term survival and healthy survival from ages 80-85 to 90-95 and 100-105. This association exists among oldest-old women and men, but, again, the effects are substantially stronger for women than for men.

We discuss four possible factors that may explain why late childbearing affects healthy longevity at advanced ages: (1) social factors; (2) biological changes caused by late pregnancy and delivery; (3) genetic and other biological characteristics; and (4) selection.

Keywords: Late Childbearing, Healthy Longevity, China, Oldest-old
pp. 37-53

Authors: Judith Banister and Kenneth Hill
Title: Mortality in China 1964-2000

This paper uses data from censuses and surveys to re-estimate mortality levels and trends in China from the 1960s to 2000. We use the General Growth Balance method to evaluate the completeness of death reporting above the youngest ages in three censuses of the People's Republic of China from 1982 to 2000, concluding that reporting quality is quite high, and revisit the completeness of death recording in the 1973-75 Cancer Epidemiology Survey. Estimates of child mortality from a variety of direct and indirect sources are reviewed, and best estimates arrived at. Our estimates show a spectacular improvement in life expectancy in China: from about 60 years in the period 1964-82 to nearly 70 years in the period 1990-2000, with a further improvement to over 71 years by 2000. We discuss why survival rates continue improving in China despite reduced government involvement in and increasing privatization of health services, with little insurance coverage.

Keywords: Completeness of Death Reporting, General Growth Balance Method, China, PRC Censuses, Mortality Trends, Adjusted Life Tables, Life Expectancy, Child Mortality, Adult Mortality, Survival Rates
pp. 55-75

Authors: Francesco Billari, Tomas Frejka, John Hobcraft, Miloslav Macura and Dirk J. van de Kaa
Title: Discussion of paper 'Explanations of the fertility crisis in modern societies: A search for commonalities', Population Studies 57(3): 241-263, by John Caldwell and Thomas Schindlmayr

The contributors to this discussion were invited to submit comments, each from a different standpoint, on the paper by John Caldwell and Thomas Schindlmayr that appeared in the preceding issue of the journal. The invitation was issued with the approval of these authors, and the journal is grateful to them for allowing their paper to be used to generate debate on the issues they had raised. The discussion is followed by the authors' response to it.  
pp. 77-92

Authors: John C. Caldwell and Thomas Schindlmayr
Title: Reply to the discussion of our paper 'Explanations of the fertility crisis in modern societies: A search for commonalities'

This article does not have an abstract.
pp. 93-94

Author: Jan Van Bavel
Title: Deliberate birth spacing before the fertility transition in Europe: Evidence from nineteenth-century Belgium

Many scholars have argued that deliberate birth spacing may have played a role before and during the modern fertility transition. There are good historical and theoretical reasons for this view, but it has proved to be hard to demonstrate convincingly that birth intervals were in fact partly determined by attempts at deliberate fertility control. This paper suggests a method of securing evidence on the issue for married couples. The method is applied to three cohorts living in a Belgian town in the nineteenth century. The findings indicate that, even before the fertility transition, couples in the working class were controlling their fertility by deliberate spacing.

Keywords: Fertility Control, Natural Fertility, Birth Spacing, Birth Intervals, Family Planning, Traditional Methods, Demographic Transition, Dependency Burden, Household Consumption, Europe, Historical Demography
pp. 95-107

Authors: Henriette Engelhardt, Tomas Kögel and Alexia Prskawetz
Title: Fertility and women's employment reconsidered: A macro-level time-series analysis for developed countries, 1960-2000

This paper examines causality and parameter instability in the long-run relationship between fertility and women's employment. This is done by a cross-national comparison of macro-level time-series data from 1960 to 2000 for France, West Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK, and the USA. By applying vector error correction models (a combination of Granger-causality tests with recent econometric time-series techniques) we find causality in both directions. T

his finding is consistent with simultaneous movements of both variables brought about by common exogenous factors such as social norms, social institutions, financial incentives, and the availability and acceptability of contraception. We find a negative and significant correlation until about the mid-1970s and an insignificant or weaker negative correlation afterwards.

This result is consistent with a recent hypothesis in the demographic literature according to which changes in the institutional context, such as changes in childcare availability and attitudes towards working mothers, might have reduced the incompatibility between child-rearing and the employment of women.

Keywords: Fertility, Female Employment, Granger Causality, Time-series Analysis, Vector Error Correction Models
pp. 109-120

Author: Zhongwei Zhao
Title: The Far Eastern pattern of mortality is not a unique regional mortality model: A reply to Noreen Goldman

This article does not have an abstract
pp. 121-124