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Stalls in the Fertility Decline in Costa Rica and South Korea

Murray Gendell
International Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 15, No. 1 (Mar., 1989), pp. 15-21
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2133274
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2133274
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Stalls in the Fertility Decline in Costa Rica and South Korea
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Abstract

Although the total fertility rate declined considerably in Costa Rica and South Korea between 1960 and 1985, both countries experienced stalls in the decline lasting at least five years. Korea experienced two stalls--a plateauing from 1968 to 1972 and a pronounced deceleration in the pace of decline from 1976 to 1981. The Costa Rican stall (a plateau) began in 1976 and had persisted through 1985, when data were last available. The persistence of the Costa Rican plateau appears to be attributable to a desired family size that has remained fairly constant during the period in question, to a national family planning program that has deteriorated since 1976 as a result of political opposition and a lack of government support, and to a lack of improvement in the use of effective methods of contraception, most notably sterilization. In contrast, Korea's stalls appear to be brief respites after periods of sharp fertility decline. The country is believed to have been able to resume the overall trend toward replacement fertility each time because desired family size has declined rapidly and steadily (an occurrence aided by a weakening in the historical preference for sons); because it continues to field a strong national family planning program; and because sterilization accounts for an increasing proportion of the high contraceptive prevalence level. Abortion is readily available in Korea also, whereas it is not in Costa Rica. Social, ecological and economic differences between the countries may also contribute to their differing patterns of fertility change.

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