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Fertility and Development in Brazil

Murray Gendell
Demography
Vol. 4, No. 1 (1967), pp. 143-157
Published by: Springer on behalf of the Population Association of America
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2060358
Page Count: 15
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Fertility and Development in Brazil
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Abstract

In the past, one of the concomitants of development has been a sustained reduction in fertility. As a result of this experience, demographers hypothesize that in a society in which fertility is lower in urban areas, among the upper socioeconomic status groups and the better-educated, fertility will decline to a moderate level as the country changes from a rural, agricultural socioeconomic structure, with low levels of living and education, to an urban, industrial structure, with rising levels of living and education. The data analyzed in this study indicate, however, that though substantial social and economic development (as measured by changes in industrial structure, per capita income, urbanization, and education) occurred in Brazil from at least 1920-40 to 1960, during which time fertility differentials of the kind indicated above existed, fertility has shown little or no tendency to decline. Between 1940 and 1960, in fact, the birth rate appears to have remained fairly constant around 43. With the death rate steadily dropping, the rate of natural increase and population growth (given a small net in-migration) has been accelerating. From a theoretical point of view, these facts reinforce a growing realization, based on similar findings in some other developing countries, that the prevailing theoretical ideas concerning the relationship between development and fertility require modification, particularly in the direction of greater specificity. On the practical side, the question is raised whether Brazil's rate of economic development during the postwar period up to 1960 can be maintained, let alone increased, in the face of a population growth rate which will probably average 3.2-3.5 percent for the period 1960-70 and which, in the absence of a decline in fertility, is likely to accelerate further.

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