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Toward A Restatement of Demographic Transition Theory

John C. Caldwell
Population and Development Review
Vol. 2, No. 3/4 (Sep. - Dec., 1976), pp. 321-366
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1971615
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1971615
Page Count: 46
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Abstract

Based on a review of the literature on demographic transition theory and documentation of preconditions to transition in Africa, the hypothesis is set forth that, excluding the transitional society, there are two kinds of situations: one in which it is economically advantageous to maximize the number of children; and one in which it is economically advantageous to minimizethe number. Arguing that child-bearing patterns in both kinds of societies are based on rational decisions, Caldwell concludes that, in the course of the coming century, fertility will almost certainly fall to low levels in most societies--even where economic growth has been slow and per capita incomes remain low--because of the massive social change leading to the nucleated family structure found in the West.

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