Fertility Transitions and Wealth in Comparative Perspective

Sarah Staveteig, ICF International

The relationship between fertility and socioeconomic status is at the heart of a substantial body of research on population and development. Reductions in fertility improve economic status, and socioeconomic betterment tends to reduce fertility. The Demographic and Health Surveys, a rich source of micro-level data on fertility and socioeconomic status in developing countries, have thus far lacked a comparable measure of wealth across surveys. Using an experimental version of the DHS comparative wealth index, I examine the relationship between wealth and fertility transitions. Reductions in fertility can be partitioned into (1) changes in the share of women at a given level of wealth; (2) changes in the fertility rate among women at that level of wealth. Findings from illustrative countries show divergent patterns in the role of factors (1) and (2).

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Presented in Session 23: Fertility Transitions