Determinants of Fertility Decline in Asia, 1975-2008

Rifat Hasan, Harvard School of Public Health
Kenneth Hill, Harvard University
Guenther Fink, Harvard School of Public Health

Fertility has declined in the past 50 years, but the debate continues about what explains these declines across countries. We explore the association of socioeconomic factors with fertility outcomes in Asia. Fertility trends are analyzed for Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Philippines in 25 WFS and DHS from 1975 to 2008 using multilevel random effects logistic models to identify the primary determinants of fertility and estimate their effects. We find that family planning use in a community and female education are associated with a lower likelihood of giving birth. Women experiencing the death of a previous child or living in a community with a higher proportion of children dead are more likely to give birth. Decomposition analysis results indicate that education does not account for much of the fertility declines across countries. Family planning in a community is the main contributor in explaining fertility decline, particularly in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

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Presented in Session 47: Determinants of Fertility in Asia