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Women's Education and Fertility: Results from 26 Demographic and Health Surveys

Teresa Castro Martin
Studies in Family Planning
Vol. 26, No. 4 (Jul. - Aug., 1995), pp. 187-202
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/2137845
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137845
Page Count: 16
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Abstract

This article presents an updated overview of the relationship between women's education and fertility. Data from the Demographic and Health Surveys for 26 countries are examined. The analysis confirms that higher education is consistently associated with lower fertility. However, a considerable diversity exists in the magnitude of the gap between upper and lower educational strata and in the strength of the association. In some of the least-developed countries, education might have a positive impact on fertility at the lower end of the educational range. Yet, compared with patterns documented a decade ago, the fertility-enhancing impact of schooling has become increasingly rare. The study also examines the impact of female education on age at marriage, family-size preference, and contraceptive use. It confirms that education enhances women's ability to make reproductive choices.

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