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Taiwan's Transition from High Fertility to Below-Replacement Levels

Ronald Freedman, Ming-Cheng Chang and Te-Hsiung Sun
Studies in Family Planning
Vol. 25, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1994), pp. 317-331
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/2137876
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137876
Page Count: 15
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Taiwan's Transition from High Fertility to Below-Replacement Levels
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Abstract

This article compares the fertility experience of Taiwanese in the eight years since the total fertility rate reached 2.1 with that before fertility reached replacement levels. During the earlier period, two-thirds of the fertility decline resulted from falling marital fertility and one-third from higher age at marriage. The changing age distribution retarded this decline. Since 1983, the further decline to 1.7-1.8 has been entirely the result of the trend toward later marriage. Older age distributions now facilitate the decline. Births postponed by those marrying later make the conventional TFR misleading. Computation based on parity-progression ratios raise TFRs from 1.7 to 2.0, a number less alarming to policymakers. Contraceptive prevalence is at saturation levels in all major population strata. The "KAP-GAP" has disappeared. What would have happened without Taiwan's effective family planning program is impossible to determine, but clearly, contraceptive services supplied by the program were the major proximate cause of Taiwan's fertility decline.

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